Watching the Watches


Matthew 25:13: “Keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”

I don’t know if you like watches as much as I do. I have about fifteen of them, for different occasions. I think I’ve always appreciated the craftsmanship and design of a nice watch. You have to remember that I grew up in an era when a gold watch was considered an appropriate retirement present, and maybe that’s why I like them so much. I don’t know what today’s Millennials would do with a watch their company gave them for retirement. Probably throw it away. For one thing, people that age don’t work at one company long enough to earn anything, and for another, they don’t use watches, preferring to get the time from their smart phones.

Because I am somewhat obsessed with knowing the time, I decided not to wear a watch for a while and see what happens. Ten days in, I can report that I don’t miss it at all. There are plenty of ways to find out the time ranging from clocks at home, in businesses and churches, in cars, on ovens and microwaves, as part of broadcasts, smart phones and sundials (I have one in my back yard), the position of the sun, and asking someone the time. Whenever anyone came up to me and I was wearing a watch and asked, “Do you have the time?” I wanted to look at my watch and say, “Yes,” and walk away. But I never did. People also used to rely on trains that passed through their town, along with fire whistles at noon to set their watches.

While there are a lot of ways to find out the time, not wearing a watch and checking it every ten minutes has made me less concerned about how long something is going to take. An event is going to take as long as it will take (a brilliant observation, I know), and staring at a watch 25 times in a half-hour meeting is not going to change how long the meeting takes. I think I’m more relaxed and in the moment. No time is a good time in this case. I also don’t have the dreaded “watch shadow” on my left wrist any more, you know, that patch of skin in the shape of a watch that’s lighter than the area around it.

I think the spiritual connection to my little experiment is fairly clear: not worrying about what time it is gives us a glimpse into eternity. God is not concerned with time since God created it. God is above and beyond time, in control of an incredibly beautiful universe. Interestingly enough, Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” Physicists tells us that light exists independently of time. (For more on this, you can talk to Mark Dodge or Jim Harris. I can’t do that math for it. Literally.) Light doesn’t care about time. And it doesn’t have a wrist to wear a watch. Or a smart phone either. In other words, light is eternal, just as Jesus is eternal.

No one except God knows if the universe is infinite, but if it is, it currently measures 92 billion light-years across. And the universe ages, the size of the universe will continue to expand to an infinite size at some infinite time in the future. We won’t see that during this earthly lifetime, but we will witness that when we are with God. All praise to God who is light, who is beyond time, who is eternal, who is our Creator, Redeemer and Friend. Amen.


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