Friday, August 12, 2011


For reasons I can't really explain, time has always fascinated me.

What is time, really? Is it a sensation, a physical dimension, a human concept? I don't know, and I don't plan to dive into all the physics and debate, but nevertheless, I am fascinated by time.

What is an hour, I might ask... well, it's sixty minutes, you say. Okay then, well, what is a minute? It's sixty seconds, you answer. Correct, then, what is a second? Well, it is the duration of 9,192,631,770 periods of the radiation corresponding to the transition between the two hyperfine levels of the ground state of the Cesium-133 atom (Wikipedia).

Shew, okay, sorry about the physics, but it was bound to happen.

So what we're saying is, a second is the time it takes for an atom of Cesium to put off some radiation. But, that doesn't get to my original question: what is time?

Well, maybe if I can't define it, I can define how I use it, how I experience it. I use my "time" to do lots of things. I use a decent amount to sleep and to eat. I use some of it to socialize, I use some of it to write these blog posts.

So I can use time... does time have limits? Well of course it does. I have a finite amount of time. It started the day I was born (or at least when I was conscious that time existed) and it will end when I die. But, is this time really mine?

Now that's a good question.

The simple answer is no. This time is not mine. It's a gift. Well then, if it's a gift, who is it from? It's from God.

So if God owns my time and has given each second as a gift to me, why don't I live that way? Why don't I treat each breath, each passing hour, each new day, as a gift from the Lord?

Now that's a really good question.

The simple answer is, I'm sinful. I'm selfish. I'm prideful. I am so focused on myself. I care so little about others. I care so little about Christ. I live to serve myself. I live to serve my interests.

During my month at Saranac, we challenged our Work Crew kids to memorize Philippians 2:1-5 which (if I remember, and I should) says:
"Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus"
If that isn't proof that the gospel is polar opposite to this world... Those five verses are the exact opposite of my reasons for why I don't treat each moment of time as a gift. If I truly lived out that charge Paul gives the Philippians, I would see each breath, each passing second as a gift from Christ. I would waste no time on myself but instead would give it all away.

My time at Saranac is over, but I earnestly hope that my time learning and living this passage is not. I have so little time, why waste another second?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Welcome back!

No, I didn't sell my computer and become a nomad... I don't know where that rumor came from. I am back though, back from perhaps the best month of my life.

I spent the month of July serving as a volunteer Work Crew Boss at Saranac Lake Younglife Camp in upstate New York. I was working in the kitchen in "the pits". The pits (if you are unfamiliar with Younglife lingo) is the dishwashing area. I had a team of 5 awesome high school kids who gave up an entire month of their summer to serve Christ in some of the dirtiest and nastiest ways.

It was an amazing experience. The thing that struck me most was the fact that roughly 40 high school kids gave up a month of their time to work for no pay to serve Christ. When I was their age, working that hard for that long would have seemed like a joke. I left this month with so much hope in the future. God is hard at work in the lives of high schoolers. He is capturing their hearts and using them for amazing, wonderful things.

Another thing that struck me was how prideful I am. I spent most of my days sweating in the kitchen scrubbing plates, bowls, sheet trays, and all other kinds of kitchenwares. I realized how hard it is for me to work in the background... to work with no recognition... to only be noticed when things are not done correctly. It was hard for me. I like to have attention, I like when I'm noticed. Most campers never knew my name. They probably didn't know what the "pits" was. But, in this, I learned how to surrender my pride and serve in humility.

I still can't get over how great this month was. Don't get me wrong, though, it was hard. I worked hard, physical labor, sometimes 14 hours a day, but in that hard, sometimes frustrating work, I found infinite opportunities to work for the glory of God. I'd read about Brother Lawrence about a week before I left for New York. He was a monk in the 1600s in a French monastery. He was stationed in the kitchen washing dishes and hated it, but by the end of his life, he was known for practicing the presence of God. He did anything and everything for the glory of God. He was so captivated with Christ that the world around him became so insignificant. He spent every second in commune with God. I strived for this during my month and often times fell far short, but it was a fun struggle.

Now that I'm home, I'm still trying to practice the presence of God. It's harder, I must admit. I am not surrounded by an awesome community, I'm not working directly for God's service, but all the chances are still there. I need to give glory to God in everything I say and do... even if it's simply writing this blog post.