Today is Daylight savings time, that magical day when, unlike the parallel Spring day from hell, we get to add an extra hour to our night’s sleep — our clocks fall back instead of springing forward, and we are given a day with 25 hours instead of 24.
Every other night we go to bed thinking, if only I could’ve gotten one more thing accomplished today. If only I could have finished replying to all those emails. If only I could have had time to clean the kitchen. If only, I could have read for an hour today.
But not so today! What a gift today is! We get an extra hour today and now we can finally have a day in which we get everything we need to get done accomplished! We are given more time to accomplish all the things we usually leave undone at the end of our days.
But I usually find that at the end of today, as with the completion of every other day in the year, I still feel like there is more to do. On this day that we are given an extra hour, I am made aware that it’s still not enough. One hour is not enough, and I imagine two, three, or even four more hours in the day wouldn’t be enough either. On this day that we proclaim the day of blessing because we get more time, I wonder if maybe we have it backwards. Maybe we need to stop trying to get more time? Maybe a day with an extra hour in it isn’t what we really need to have a better life? Maybe we don’t possess time at all. Maybe time possesses us? And maybe the best course of action isn’t to try and constantly attain more time, but to let go of our need to achieve and accomplish so much.
With 25 hours or 24, deadlines will still destroy our sense of rhythm. Commitments will contaminate our longing to just enjoy things. And things that are meant to help us find peace, like church, become just another obligation that takes up a slot in our already cluttered and crammed schedules. It’s unlikely that having more time would change things.
This is what we find with technology. Smart-phones, email, and wireless phone cards for our computers promise to make us more efficient workers with more free time on our hands. But instead we feel the reverse happens. We work all the time instead of relaxing more. We still feel the need to be productive. We still work just as much if not more. We have things to accomplish, always.
Christians aren’t exempt from this mentality. The pastors I know are email addicts, and most of them are relentlessly chained to their blackberries or iPhones. We think with each day we can do a little more for God. We think God’s Kingdom grows in direct proportion to the productive time we spend working for God. We can make, build, and grow God’s kingdom through the efficient, hard work of our hands. Through diligent use of our time we can build God’s kingdom.
But the reality is the Kingdom is not something that needs to be built. It’s not something that needs to come into being. The kingdom is not a certain size that you and I are charged with growing so that it becomes bigger. Jesus never said to his disciples you are called to build, grow, expand, or make the kingdom.
He said you are to enter it. The kingdom was something Jesus came to proclaim. It is a reality that Jesus inaugurated that we can live in, now.
It’s a way of life that we can enter by slowing down, not by speeding up. Living in the kingdom happens when we pause and recognize that Jesus is already the King. He is the ruler of all things regardless of what we accomplish or accumulate with our time. We can pause and enjoy this invisible certainty. We can rest in God’s accomplished work, and recognize that all our striving, all our doing, all our busyness cannot enhance or establish what already is. We cannot make what is perfect any more perfect. We can just enter and enjoy it, and then go and tell others about it.
So on this day where we find ourselves with an extra hour to spend, join me in trying not to do more, but less. Join me in slowing down and appreciating what already is. Join me in celebrating the reality of a kingdom that doesn’t depend on how much I can get accomplished.