Which Kind of Time Dominates Your Life and Leadership?
One of the most challenging topics to study in science, philosophy, and theology is the idea of time. One helpful teaching for me has been the distinction between chronos time and kairos time.
Chronos time refers to the twenty-four hours in a day that is given in exact equal amounts to every person. We cannot add to it or take away from it. It is dictated by the physical universe. Rich and poor alike have the exact same number of seconds every day, an equal inheritance as human beings on this planet.
Kairos time is redeemed time. When we invest our chronos time in acts of service, love, stewardship, worship, and rest, we transform it into kairos time. When we are driven by the things of this world, the desire to grow rich, the thirst to amass possessions and wealth, the hunger for position, pride, plaudits, power, and praise, we are stuck in a frantic desire to hold on to chronos time. And it constantly slips through our fingers.
Time is one of the greatest gifts God has given us. He put it in place from the beginning of creation, when he created morning and evening. In essence, God created time for us from his very first words: “Let there be light.” By creating us in his image, he intended that we fill our chronos days with kairos moments. In fact, it is his will that our entire lives be overwhelmed by kairos time.
The enemy hates kairos time, and he will do everything he can to persuade us as leaders that our demanding role requires us to embrace the frantic, hectic, stressful alternative of a life dominated by the unstoppable passage of chronos time.
Which kind of time dominates your life? As you shut out the lights and look back on your day, do you feel like the time just slipped away from you? Do weeks pass with little to point to in terms of memorable moments that will linger in your memory for years to come? How driven are you by chronos time? And how will you create kairos moments?
As steward leaders we glorify all of God’s creation, including time. Therefore, we must fight the temptation to believe we somehow own our time, for the time we own will never be more than chronos time. Instead, we are called to surrender all of our ownership of time and ask God to work in and through us to redeem every moment of it into an offering back to him. This is a supreme opportunity for us as steward leaders. We must challenge our people to be faithful stewards of time and, seeing their work as worship, lead them in meaningful work that will fill their days with kairos moments. To do so we must model what it looks like to allow kairos moments to take priority over our chronos-driven schedules.
Here’s a challenge. Find a few moments of silence and think back to the week that has just passed. What are the first images that come to mind? A year from now, is there anything that happened in this past week that you will be able to remember clearly as if it were yesterday? Now think back a year ago and write down two or three memories that come to mind. Why are these so clear in your memory? These two exercises may help you identify what, for you, are kairos moments. Take out your calendar for tomorrow. What would it mean for you to intentionally seek and create kairos moments in your day? What will you have to set aside, choose not to do, or postpone in order to allow God to fill your day with kairos moments?
Is there a friend you need to visit, a call you need to make, a letter you need to write, forgiveness you need to ask for, a talk you need to have with a colleague, a mentoring opportunity you need to follow up on, an act of generosity waiting to be fulfilled? You will have exactly twenty-four hours of chronos time tomorrow—how much of that will you decide to transform into redeemed kairos time?