Time Slaves

Have you ever wondered what it would be like if time was not a part of your daily life? I’m not talking about time in a broad manner as in we all have certain amounts of years to our lives, but in a specific sense like the time of day. How much of your life would change if you never knew the time? Appointments? Work? Class? Family life? Trips? Meetings? I could probably list a lot more but I think that’ll do. 
People’s obsession with time is demonstrated for anyone who looks back through the lens of history. The idea of time pieces has been around for a long time but an accurate clock has only existed for less than 700 years. Thousands of years ago sundials and water clocks dominated as the source of telling time. However, these were not accurate and relied so much on the sun shining and the source of water being controlled. Fast forward to the 14th century and the foundations of the modern clock are born and we’ve never looked back since. 

The question that comes to my mind is: why? Why are we drawn so much to time? Why do we feel life needs to be so…calculated? What would happen if you hid every form of time piece in your possession? Would your life spiral out of control? (That may be a bit of exaggeration) 

I am a high school teacher. My entire work day is built on a schedule that would not function without the knowledge of time. It makes you wonder how education ever worked without bell schedules…

It may sound odd coming from a teacher, but bells and schedules drive me crazy. I don’t believe that society was ever meant to be so regimented. So much creativity and experiences are starved by such a system. Really, that system is no more than 150 years old. It all originated out of the industrial revolution era in Europe and the United States. Even though it’s so young, most nations around the world have adopted methods of structuring their days. Think about all the phrases: happy hour, nine to five job, 40 hour work weeks, over time, bed time, dinner time, etc. Alarm clocks ringing to wake up for another time managed day. 

Don’t get me wrong, I believe that there have been efficiencies added due to time keeping. On the contrary, I also believe many have become slaves to the same efficiency. What sparked all of this dialogue was an article I recently read about the “present clock.” Have you heard of it? It was designed by Scott Thrift. The clock actually contains no numbers and takes one full year to make a full revolution.

Imagine the only sense of time that you have is of your year passing by rather than the minutes and seconds. What’s the advantage to that? Maybe a life lived in light of the big picture rather than by a schedule consumed with milking every tick of the clock out of a day. Maybe it would help to keep our eyes locked on the yearly goals rather than on the next meeting or deadline. In my opinion, it would lead to a less “productive” life but it would lead to a fuller life. Here’s an example that came to my mind: I would be more focused on pouring into another year of my daughters’ lives before that year is up rather than on bed times and super structured days. 

I applaud Mr. Thrift. While I would agree that structure is not all together bad and time Management has its advantages, they can also drown the very life out of us when we allow them to dominate every move. Ephesians 5:16 tells us to make the most of every opportunity and Psalm 90:12 says that we need to be taught to number our days. I believe the heart of both of those verses is to make the most of life not to live so much on schedules and time tables limited by set times. I believe they tell us to make the most of our relationships and serve and love in increasing measure. Our ability to do that can be very limited when we are overly aware of time. The moment humanity gained the ability to keep track of hours and minutes and seconds, it began to fill them up, a lot of which with useless things in grand scheme of things. A life too full can sometimes be very empty. Mr. Thrift’s simple invention helped me to zoom out on life so I can see it how I believe our Creator meant us to. 


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