Posted tagged ‘time’

How Long is a Long Time?

November 23, 2015

by Dr. Steven J. Callis

They advertised that is was long lasting. Apparently, my definition of long lasting differs from theirs. Certainly it is a relative term. The claimed it is also circumstantial depending on the frequency and quantity of usage. They really are not to blame, however, as there are other battery brands that make a similar assertions.

In fact, batteries are not the only product on the market that boasts of endurance. Many products in the cosmetics line consistently use the term “long lasting” in promoting their products; lipstick, eyeliner, eye shadow, and even perfume. Then there are building products such as siding, shingles, and lumber. A certain brand of kitty litter claims to have long lasting odor control, and I even saw an ad for a “long lasting temporary tattoo.”

That reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom would make an appointment to get a permanent put in her hair. I was puzzled as to why she had to go back a couple of weeks later to have it done again. I thought she should get a refund and find a new salon! The truth is that she was making an appointment to get a temporary.

It is not a regular practice for me to junk the old and replace with new when the old continues to function satisfactorily. I have had my GPS for 7 years. I had no plans to purchase one, but it was gifted to me by a friend. It has cost me lost time on occasion, but for the most part it has been a worthwhile and helpful companion on the road.

It began to “act up” last Friday night in downtown Atlanta and I spent 45 minutes trying to find I-20 on my own. The diagnosis is fatal; there is no cure for its malady. I mourned to the service technician, “But it’s only 7 years old, just a baby!” He was not amused, and in fact seemed surprised that I had kept it so long!

A man being interviewed was asked how long he expected to live. His reply was thoughtful: “For the rest of my life.” The Psalmist wrote about the limited time each of us has on earth, and exhorted his readers to make the most of every day while the opportunity is before us. For me, I want to do the best I can with what I have while I have it (and while it still works!) in this world. Let’s work together to better our community.


Is Time Really on our Side?

October 28, 2015

By Dr. Steven J. Callis

The clock on my office wall is one of six chronometers in my 180 square foot study space. I like clocks! This one is unique in that its numerals count forward from the left, and the hands on the face run counterclockwise. In other words, the hands point to the correct time, but the numerals are on the opposite side of where they appear on a standard clock.

I do not qualify as a collector of timepieces, but they do fascinate me. Another clock in my office has the appearance of a football scoreboard and includes time, date, and room temperature. It was a gift from my kids, as was the one that features a golfer swinging a putter in time with the seconds that tick away.

Novelist Mitch Albom wrote an intriguing story, The Time Keeper, depicting how man came to measure time, along with the benefits and consequences of doing so. I happened across it on a sale table and was curious enough to spend the four dollars, recognizing the name as the writer of the better known, Tuesday’s with Morey. It is a thought provoking work that you might enjoy, as I did.

Time is my topic today because November 1 is the established date to “fall behind,” as it were. Some people refer to it as enjoying an extra hour of sleep, though I usually get involved in something on that night which keeps me up later than normal! Nevertheless, at bedtime we turn the clocks back one hour, giving us the impression of “gaining” an extra hour for…well, for however we decide to use it.

Could you handle the responsibility if you had the power to control time? Often in a football game there are coaches on both sidelines, the winning team hoping time will elapse quicker, and the other team wanting even a few extra seconds on the game clock to score one more time.

The Beatles sang about 8 days a week, the Rolling Stones believed that time was on their side, Jim Croce wanted to save time in a bottle, and The Turtles took their cue from the Bible book of Ecclesiastes to inform us that everything has a season and a purpose under heaven – – turn, turn, turn!

You already know that we do not gain actual time November 1; we simply change the time on our clocks. Next March we will reverse the process and “lose” an hour, so to speak. The only power we really possess to affect time is our freedom to use it according to our own priorities and decisions. While we cannot always tame our responsibilities and shoulds and oughts, the ultimate accountability for our stewardship of time remains with us individually.

Be thankful for the time you have. Let’s be careful to learn from the past, live in the present, and aspire for the future. We cannot control time, but we can learn to make it work for us.

Where’s the Fire?

May 23, 2014

JUST THINKING:  In 1899 Jacob German of New York City became the first driver to be arrested for speeding.  The posted speed limit was 12 miles per hour.  He was really in a hurry!!!  On one of my recent trips I was cruising along at 70mph enjoying some quiet time with the Lord and the beautiful scenery of His world when, seemingly out from nowhere, a vehicle swooshed by me headed to a fire (I presumed…”where’s the fire?).  It happened too quickly for me to see the driver, but I can tell you that he was in one of those little “Smart” cars that appeared to have his tires about 2 feet off the pavement!  He had to be doing 85 or 90!

     Anyway, Jacob began a long list of men and women who would be cited for excessive speed in a vehicle.  In fact, there is a strong chance that the majority of our readers today are on that list!  Yes, I confess that I am one of them 😦    Whatever it is in us that wants to go faster, farther, quicker, is what makes it so very difficult to “wait on the Lord” and to “be still” and know Him as God of all the heavens and earth.

     Back in Jacob’s day people sat on their front porch on Sunday afternoons and many evenings to simply relax and unwind.  Oh that we could find an hour to just stop – no cell phone, no hurrying here or there – just a slow quiet, waiting with the Lord.

Spinning Out of Control

October 3, 2013

Spinning Out of Control

by Steven J. Callis


Do you remember Eric Brenn, the spinning plate guy?  He appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show way back when, and recently I came across a video clip of his act on the internet.

On the stage was a long table covered with cloth, and there were 5 rods of some type, each one approximately 4 feet in length, positioned vertically on the table.  Beside each rod were a bowl and 2 dinner plates.  Beginning with one bowl, Brenn began spinning a bowl, and then balanced it on the first rod.  He followed that by spinning one of the plates on the table top, and then the second, then another bowl, and another plate.

He continued this process, periodically returning to items already in motion to restore their momentum, until all 5 bowls and 8 plates were spinning simultaneously without crashing from the table top or rod. As if that was not enough, he had also been giving some attention to a tray of 8 drinking glasses, spoons, and eggs.

I watched him dart back and forth between these projects that he had started, spinning one object while keeping his eyes on the others that were in motion.  I thought about how our lives sometimes feel as though they are spinning almost out of control.  Voices from every direction beckon for our attention, demanding our time and energy.  It becomes nearly impossible to give our full attention and focus to any single facet because there are so many other things spinning around us.

Our society has conditioned us to stay busy.  Technology demands that we be connected 24/7/365.  If we cannot be immediately accessed by phone, email, IM, text message, twitter, Skype, or Friendster, we are made to feel guilty for not being available.  We find ways to save time so we can further clutter an already overloaded schedule.  Eric Brenn provided an appropriate demonstration of what we look like in our daily living.

There was one thing I noticed about Eric Brenn, however, that is not necessarily true in our society.  He seemed calm and in control.  He did not panic when one of the bowls almost fell off the rod.  He did not give up when a bowl fell back into his hands as he tried to place it on a rod.  He never seemed to be out of sorts during his routine.

The secret is that he knew some things about physics and gravity and balance and bowl spinning that I do not know.  He possessed some knowledge of truth that enabled him to see beyond what appeared to be sheer pandemonium that would send most of us into panic mode.

In the Bible, Matthew’s Gospel records these words of Jesus, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”  We must accept responsibility for our own physical, emotional, and spiritual health.  We are stewards of our time, energy, and resources.  There are times that we must stop, wait, be still, and rest.

There are also times that the demands of life build up on us and push us beyond our natural limits.  Similar to Eric Brenn, however, I have a knowledge of truth that enables me to see beyond what appears to be a life spinning out of control; there is Someone who knows so much more about the things of life than I could ever hope to learn.   So, I rest in Him as He assures me, “Don’t panic.  Don’t worry.  I care for the lilies of the fields and the birds of the air.  How much more have I got your back.”

Are You a Good Waiter?

December 7, 2012

I remember my childhood Decembers seeming exceptionally long as I awaited that exciting morning when we would gather around the Christmas tree to open presents.  The slow progression of the preparation for that day can be difficult for a young child. Gradually, the number of gifts beneath the tree would grow, and then during the night before Christmas, the number of presents seemed to double overnight! The waiting was really difficult, but well worth it!

Recently I spent almost an entire 5 minutes searching internet sites (our favorite fool-proof resource) to discover that the average person spends approximately 5 years of life waiting.  That number includes 6 months waiting at traffic lights, but the article said nothing of waiting on the phone for an available customer service representative from my internet provider.

For something we seem to practice often, some of us are not very good at it.  However, we must endure periods of waiting: for our food order, to see a doctor, standing in line for a purchase, auto repair, and so on.  There are some people who plan ahead in order to use those moments productively, so that the waiting is filled with activity and helps to pass the time.  Some restaurants help the cause by providing complimentary peanuts, chips, bread sticks, coloring sheets, or golf tee puzzles.  I aim to be one of those conscientious persons who use time wisely, but sometimes my body and mind simply need that down time.  There are times we just need to stop.

Of course, the Christmas season brings with it a busy schedule and a to-do-list that only Santa could fill.  Shopping, parties, school programs, church programs, community events, visiting friends, decorating the house, wrapping gifts, baking goodies – the website mentioned earlier claims that we spend 6 years of life eating!

Come December 26, many people are glad it is over, along with the hustling and bustling that takes its toll on our bodies and emotions.  In this light, it is interesting that the Christian term, Advent, literally means “coming,”  and that the four Sundays leading to Christmas day are a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the birth of Jesus at Christmas.

In this sense, the waiting becomes productive only as we prepare ourselves for the coming of Christ.  Amid the hustle and bustle of the season, what are you doing to make room for Jesus?  More important than any gift I could give or receive is the spiritual preparation for receiving Christ in His fullness, and allowing Him to be the Pilot of my life, rather than simply one of the many travelers on the plane. Yes, Jesus is coming, and if you are ready, He will come to you in a fresh and unique way this Christmas, and the waiting will be worth it!