An interesting thought hit me the other day when I was thinking about everything that I needed to do last week and all of the time that I had in which to get it done. Time is a very finite thing, there is only so much of it, and yet I found, as I went about my week doing this and that, fulfilling obligations that I had, that I managed to get everything done that needed to be done, and somehow find time to write 11,700 words for NaNoWriMo. Then this morning at Church my Bishop was mentioning that it is once again time for Tithing Settlements, the time at the end of each year where every family meets with the Bishop to discuss their payment of tithes and offerings, a time to declare before a Judge in Israel that one has fulfilled the commandment to pay an honest tithe to the best of one’s ability. He said that every year he hears the same stories, that people keep telling him that they don’t know how it happens but somehow, even though the numbers don’t add up, they still manage to find the money to pay their tithing as well as meet all of their other financial responsibilities.
So, I got to thinking that Time is Money. And they are both very similar concepts, representing very finite amounts. And yet, if one trusts in the Lord, keeps his commandments and puts him first, one finds that one has enough for what one needs. You hear stories like that about tithing all the time in the Church, families who have enough money to pay tithing or pay rent, yet when they pay tithing first the money somehow is there for them to pay rent as well. I have heard of people receiving last-minute scholarships that they never applied for, receiving checks in the mail, or having mixups with a paycheck that worked in their favor. The Lord does delight in blessing those that serve him. And I have see the same thing happen with my time. If I focus on myself and try to do everything, inevitably something gets forgotten, or I run out of time. Yet, when I put the Lord first, when I look for opportunities to help and serve others, I still somehow find the time I need to do everything I needed to get done.
It reminds me of a story I was given on my mission. A professor was giving a lecture and held up a large glass jar. He filled it with pebbles and then asked his audience if the jar was full. Many answered “Yes”, but then the professor took some gravel and added that to the jar, and it filled the little spaces between the pebbles. Again he asked if the jar was full. Again the audience answered “Yes.” Next he took sand and poured it in the jar, and the tiny grains of sand filled even the small gaps left. Is the jar now full? The audience hesitated, and lastly he took a glass of water and pured it in the jar, with filled the jar up to the brim.
Many who saw the demonstration thought that the point of the object lesson was to prove that even in a full schedule you could find time to fit something else in. But, the professor pointed out the important point – if the big stones don’t go in first, they won’t fit later on. We need to find what things we find important in our lives and make time for them first, and we will find that other things will fall into place or fall out completely.
Time, like money, is a wonderful resource that we can use in building up the kingdom of heaven. We can use or time and talents for the benefit of those around us, and as we do we will find that the Lord will bless us with more of those things so that we can continue to be useful and draw nearer to him.