“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)
What is time, anyway? Just some arbitrary numerical assignment based on the rotation of the earth? A way to keep track of when to eat lunch? Or how long ‘till we get to clock out? Modern man has done an impressive job of keeping track of time. According to “timeanddate.com”: Atomic clocks deviate only 1 second in about 20 million years. The international System of Units (SI) defines one second as the time it takes a Cesium-133 atom at the ground state to oscillate exactly 9,192,631,770 times. Wow!!
The clocks in our external brains (cell phones) in turn, receive radio signals that keep them in sync with this ridiculously accurate time. So we know EXACTLY what time it is when we check our phones every three minutes.
And yet we still lose track of time. Hmmm….
The Greeks had two words for time.
“Chronos” is the root for several of our “time and date” words like chronology, chronometer, and chronicles. The time of the clock. In Greek mythology, Chronos was often depicted as an old, wise man with a long beard. Father time. Time as a tool, time to be planned, scheduled, and measured. Quantitative.
But also sometimes portrayed in artwork as a wild eyed ogre of a man eating his own children. Disturbing. Time that nags, accuses, and devours. Time that waits for no man. Frantic, anxious ridden time. The digital atomic clock that keeps track out to the millionth of a second. Time as a slave master.
In summary “Chronos” asks, and sometimes demands:
WHAT TIME IS IT!?!
“Kairos”, on the other hand, is entirely different. Meaning “the right or opportune moment; a period or season, a moment of indeterminate time in which an event of significance happens.” Spontaneous, joyful, invigorating. And at the same time somehow restful. Pure gift. Pure grace. Sabbath. While we can be prepared for it, we can’t create it. We’re just called to recognize it and be willing to respond to the invitation. While time waits for no man, God is the creator of time. He is sovereign. Kairos time is God’s gift that beckons us to trust in His sovereignty. To trust in His provision. To trust in His goodness.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 2:11)
In summary “Kairos” asks, and the Holy Spirit nudges:
What is this time for?
Don’t get me wrong. This side of heaven in this broken world, we need chronos to provide some sense of order. But it should be a tool we use to help order our days and our lives, not a tyrant that orders us around. And as tempting as it may sound, we can’t live in Kairos time 24/7. At least not yet.
So I encourage you to keep watch for those nuggets of Kairos, those grace filled glimpses of heaven that God provides and uses to prepare us for eternity.
Then respond and enjoy God’s goodness and Grace!