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”?
When did I start asking this question?
Why do I think that this is an important question to consider? I originaly asked this when I was in a transitional moment of life, having finished a degree and working part time whilst I decided whether or not to start chasing a professional or an academic career or perhaps something else all together. I had had the blessing of an already improved income compared to when I was studying and more time that wasn’t locked in my week in week out activities.
A benefit to ministry
Part time work was not a sustainable situation in the long term, but I had been able to devote a significant amount of time to ministries I was involved with. Spending more time on ministries made the time I spent more enjoyable too (less stress perhaps?). Hence, if having more time meant I was more effective in ministry in the long term, the question of whether or not money is equivalent to time was, and still is, quite poignant.
Seeking some wisdom
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 how insignificant this existence is next to the one and true God. It seems a sound enough concept than that we give our time in creation to attempt to achieve goals.
The focus of a Christian
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. Packer, in his book ‘Concise Theology’; claims that, out of a desire to please God, as friends do, we should be looking out for ways to serve Him.
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 ultimately will be a waste of time.
Limited use of wealth
However money, as a symbol for earthly wealth, is useful in the creation in which we all live. As such, it is good to support the work of the church by giving what you earn to support the furthering God’s kingdom.
Wealth in the work of the kingdom
Paul, the apostle, was known to support himself through his work so he would burden 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.
A question behind a question
Underneath the question that 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 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 composer, programmer and PhD candidate at the University of New South Wales.Sam Gillespie's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/sam-gillespie.html