Notes from Jan

It’s About Time

April 15, 2024

Fill in the blank. It’s about time to…. Or it’s about time you… Maybe it’s about time they… Or I don’t have time for… But, in the end, it’s about how we choose to use or waste the time of our lives.

As much as I sometimes miss what was and especially who was, I try to make the best use of today. ““This is the day the Lord has made. We will rejoice and be glad in it.” (Psalm 118:24, NLT) But also to be hopeful about tomorrow.

Yesterday my son-in-love and I visited a church he attended as a boy. The church, like many today in our country, was built to hold more people than showed up. And ,like too many churches, most who came were gray, white or bald headed. Still, it was time well spent.

A visiting pastor delivered the sermon, based on Luke 24, when Jesus showed up after the resurrection to his frightened disciples. They were hiding out when suddenly, Jesus stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”(v.36) They, disbelieving “believers”, think they’re seeing a ghost. To demonstrate their misconception, Jesus shows his hands and feet, then asks for something to eat.

After teaching and helping them open their minds, Jesus states, “You are witnesses of these things.” (v. 48) The guest preacher talked about how fearful, puzzled, weary, amazed and hopeful the disciples must’ve been at this point. Maybe they were hopeful that things could go back to the way they were before. But everything had changed. They and Jesus were not the same.

Then, the minister reminded us of the changes in the church and how some might want to go back to a bygone era when it seemed like everybody went to church. Or back to just before the pandemic when more folks came to church instead of connecting on-line. But nothing stays the same. Times change. We change. But our mission is the same one Christ gave his disciples: “You are witnesses of these things.” What things? How Jesus is alive and at work in the world. God’s love and purposes for us. And today for whatever reason or wherever we hide in fear, Jesus speaks, “Peace be with you.”

But, as sometimes happens for me, God showed up at an odd time. When? During the announcements. It was when the home pastor struggled to convey to the church family the death of a beloved member of the congregation. I didn’t know this woman but found myself wiping my eyes as the pastor choked up talking about what she’d meant to this church family and beyond. Some choir members dabbed at their eyes. Apparently, she used a significant amount of the time of her life to “to bear witness to these things.” And because of one woman, there were those who knew about Jesus and what He and they were about.

So, on this Monday in April, I ask, “What does my life bear witness to?” And how am I using the time of my life? After an encounter with the risen Christ, a small band of women and men chose to bear witness to the changes in them and in Jesus. Then they chose to use the time that remained of their lives to begin to change the world.

For God’s children, the best is yet to be.

Meanwhile, it’s about time.

Mine.

Yours.

So, a few thoughts from some wiser than I will ever be:

“How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Annie Dillard

“The time is always right to do what is right.” Martin Luther King Jr.

“We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough?” Wendell Berry

“I’m here to be me, which is taking a great deal longer than I had hoped.” Anne Lamott

And as to the regrets and longings of times gone by: “You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.” C.S .Lewis

God only knows why, but Grace sets the pace for the times of our lives.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Dale April 15, 2024 at 7:35 pm

    Thanks Jan, you are right when you say time is life and to waste our time is to waste our life. I guess the question for me is when am I wasting and when am I investing, especially in others where there might be no visible returns. Perhaps my time is not the most important or as important as I like to think. Blessings, Dale

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 19, 2024 at 11:05 pm

      Your time matters because you matter. Results are in the hands of God, who you and Marty love and serve You’ve touched so many with God’s love and care, including my life and Jud’s. Thank you, dear friends.

  • Reply Alyssa Arnold April 15, 2024 at 11:23 pm

    Hi Jan, I saved those quotes and hope to make them into a movement assignment for my future dance students!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 19, 2024 at 11:07 pm

      Great idea, dear Alyssa. Sounds like an interesting project. Any students who get you for their dance teacher are getting a super star. Sending hugs to you and Andrew in Utah.

  • Reply Radina Welton April 15, 2024 at 11:25 pm

    I’m going to remember that as my guide through time: “Grace sets the pace”. Thank you!

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 19, 2024 at 11:09 pm

      Well, dear Radina, I’m trying to do the same. I don’t want to outrun Grace or lag so far behind, I miss the moment.

      • Reply Radina Welton April 20, 2024 at 12:31 am

        A few years ago while meditating on Mt 11:30: “my yoke is easy and my burden light”, I wrote a prayer which I framed and hung near my bedroom door:
        “Lord, as I walk this path with you,
        Forbid that I should pull ahead;
        Forbid that I should fall behind;
        But may I keep in step so that
        Release from stress and strain are mine,
        Your image on this earth may shine,
        Your kingdom in my heart all find.

        • Reply Jan Carlberg April 20, 2024 at 9:01 am

          So beautiful and worth reading and praying often. So, I wrote it down and tucked it into my little notebook.
          Thank you for sharing this with all who read the blog. Christ’s image does shine through you, dear Radina.

  • Reply Joyce c Ruppell April 19, 2024 at 1:29 pm

    A very special book I often enjoy reading to my grandchidren is entitled The Three Questions. It is based on a story by leo Tolstoy
    The three questions are– When is the best time to do things? Who is the most important one? What is the right thing to do?
    When taken from a spiritual perspective this book has helped me to keep in mind the answers:
    There is only one mportant tim, and that time is now.
    The most important one is always the one you are with.
    The most imprtant thing is to do good for those around you.

    • Reply Jan Carlberg April 19, 2024 at 11:12 pm

      Thank you, dear Joyce, for adding to this blog with your insights. Sounds like an important story to read at any age, Your Grands are blessed that you read such thoughtful books to them. Thanks for reading the blog and sharing your thoughts with those who read this post..

  • Reply Wendy May 9, 2024 at 10:22 am

    So much good “food for thought” in your post and the comments! I was sorry I took so long to read it, but I ended up reaping even more wisdom since I did. <3

    • Reply Jan Carlberg May 9, 2024 at 11:57 am

      I love reading the comments. They teach and encourage me, as well, dear Wendy. Sometimes, I find, that when I’m “late” on reading something, it turns out to be God’s perfect timing.

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