There’s a company called The Kronos Project. They tell the story of a man who, on a Saturday, was listening to the radio. He heard an older man talking to a younger man named Tom. Tom traveled a lot with his job, worked over sixty hours a week, and had missed his daughter’s dance recital.
So the man told Tom about “1000 marbles.” He said that he had started thinking how most people live an average of eighty years. He multiplied that by 52 weeks per year and realized that the average person has about 4,160 Saturdays. At 60 years old he figured he had about 1,000 Saturdays left.
He went to several stores and rounded up 1,000 marbles, put them in a clear container, and started removing one every Saturday he lived. It helped him prioritize his life on the truly important things. Then he said that after the radio broadcast he was going to take his wife out for breakfast. That morning before the show he had taken out his last marble.
The Greeks had two words for “time.” One was kronos. It’s the word for sequential time or chronological time. It is time in minutes and seconds. The second word for “time” is kairos. It’s a word used for a window of time, an opportune time, or the right time. It has to do with a period of time that opens itself up and one needs to make the most of it when it does.
That’s why Paul writes: “. . . make the best use of the time, because the days are evil.” “Make the best use” comes from the Greek word “exagarazo” which is made up of “agora” (the marketplace) and “ek” (out of). If you went to the marketplace and found a special deal you’d need to snatch it up right then while you had a chance.
That’s what we need to do with our time. “Kairos” is the time we are to snatch up. And, especially when the “days are evil” it is using your time well instead of wasting it away.
Some try to forget the evil away. One cocktail expert wrote: “Happy hour has to remind us that whatever came before or whatever might come afterward, right here and right now, for these few hours, all is well—and well shaken—with the world.”
Instead of intoxication, why not be filled with better things? You can have a Happy Hour every day. Here are three suggestions that you can shake together to make better use of your time.
- Be present wherever you are. Don’t just show up. Be there. Put down the cell phone. Take off the headphones. Put down the tablet. Wherever you are, be.
- Be thankful. That last breath you took? It was a gift. That friend that’s sitting across the booth from you? At least you have one. The car you drove to get wherever you are? It may not be the latest and greatest, but it was better than walking, right? Develop a heart full of thankful. Paul adds in his writing “…giving thanks always and for everything…”
- Become aware of your moments. You may be in a conversation so that you can influence. You may be in a particular place so you can learn. You may be given an opportunity that, if you miss it, you’ll later regret.
You and I only have so many marbles left. Our kronos moments are disappearing with each second. Our kairos moments are too. Let’s make the best use of them. You have just enough time to make the most of your time.
Question: Look at your calendar for the day. It is scheduled with kronos time. Now look back over it and ask, “Where are the kairos moments in my day to day?”