When Time is a Commodity

Have you ever been in a store or restaurant, and things just seemed out of synch with the rest of the world? It normally occurs when you are not completely familiar with a store’s layout or a restaurant’s ordering procedures. Now introduce the added challenges of age, limited mobility and blindness, and you can begin to picture my recent trip to the restaurant Chipotle. Beatriz, her son Jaime and I hit the counter about 11:30 am, right before the first lunch rush. The servers, seeing my predicament as we attempted to place our order, were gracious and helpful as I tried to guide a 92-year old woman walking with a cane, who came from Colombia, and her blind 68-year old son son of, through the ordering line.

I never realized the amount of decisions needed to properly order at Chipotle. I began feeling like a cork about to pop off a champagne bottle as the line began to form behind us. The pressure was building up, not because anyone was rude or unpleasant, but because most were in a hurry, having only a limited time to eat lunch. You could almost measure the increase in pressure as I began asking the questions of Beatriz and Jamie:

What do you want on that?

Do you like sour cream?

What about your son?


It is hard to gauge the speed of the river when you are either in it or on the bank, but place one foot on shore and one foot on an object floating in the river and woosh...you can’t help but notice the speed of the current. This pressure is completely man-made. We rarely question it. Time is money, and money is time. We just need to improve productivity, right? Get more people served in a shorter period of time. Yet, how do we do that in this situation, without demeaning the individuals or taking away their dignity? Should the time demands of the many negate the dignity of the few?

These questions are not theoretical. They are pressing but rarely asked by anyone. Even our churches are subject to similar limitations, because of our reliance on participation and finances. Deep down, we have all been taught that money makes the world go around, and our church experience does little, if anything, to change that perception. In fact, our church experience often exacerbates the problem by offering more events and responsibilities, leaving us to choose between the secular and the religious, often causing guilt, shame or judgement to enter--stage right.

God asks us to be still and know that he is God. But if we are on a train that is moving at a high rate of speed, then even at rest we are not truly still. At some point, we must be willing to disembark and find a new way to travel life’s journey. I am not advocating for everyone to hold a sit-in until the world slows down, but I am calling for you to look for the Spirit’s leading. Is that promotion at work always a blessing from God, or could it sometimes be an opportunity to get off the train at the next station to avoid a speed increase? Only you can answer for yourself whether God has been calling for you to submit different areas of your life to Him. What is the cost of ignoring Him? Well, what would it mean to gain the whole world and lose your soul? That’s not my question—it’s His!

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