The common saying, "Time is money", is often used to convey the trade of a person's time for another's money. However, is it fair to say that, "Money is time"?
Why do I think that this is an important question to consider? I ask this while I'm in a transitional moment of life, having finished a degree and working part time while I decide whether or not to start chasing a professional or an academic career or perhaps something else altogether.
I currently have had the blessing of an already improved income compared to when I was studying and more time that isn't locked into specific week in week out activities.
This is not a sustainable situation in the long term, but over the past few weeks I've been able to devote a significant amount of time to ministries I'm involved with. Spending more time on ministries made the time I spent more enjoyable too (less stress perhaps?). Hence, if having more time means I am more effective in ministry in the long term, the question of whether or not money is equivalent to time is quite poignant.
Every time I look at the book of Ecclesiastes one of the concepts that I feel comes up regularly is that a person's only asset is the time which they have been given and this is still insignificant next to the one and true God.
It seems a sound enough concept then that we give our time in creation to attempt to achieve goals. If a Christian is choosing what efforts to place their time in, it is expected that they will place their effort in work that furthers the kingdom of God.
J.I Packer puts this argument forward on the topic of Christian enterprise in his book 'Concise Theology', Packer points out that out of a desire to please God, as friends do, we should be looking for what we can do to pursue this overarching goal.
Money certainly has no value outside of creation so if we take up Jesus' directive to store up our treasures in heaven it seems foolish to chase after money as a goal, as it is a waste of time.
However money is useful in the creation which we all live in, as such, it is good to support the work of the church by giving what you earn to support the work of furthering God's kingdom.
Paul was known to support himself through his work so he would not be a burden on those he ministered to. There is therefore reason to say that although "Money is not time" it is still useful in its place as a tool for realising the furthering of God's kingdom.
Underneath the question many of us ask, "How best to spend our lives for God?" lies a question that is potentially far more challenging: "Am I willing to sacrifice my comfort?"
It often sits at the edge of our consciousness, we can so easily subconsciously choose comfort when faced with situations in our day to day lives. But throughout the Bible there are believers who choose uncomfortable situations.
They do not shy away from the works prepared for them, the pinnacle of this being Christ on the cross. Perhaps a better question to be asking: "Is time comfort?"
While "Time is money" and money can be put to use to serve the kingdom, money is not time for a Christian, since we are to be devoted to the service of God not our own comfort.
Sam Gillespie is a freelance composer and computer programmer.
Sam Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html