Time: the currency of the 21st century
Faith and culture:
“Assuming that productivity levels continue to rise, my grandchildren and great-grandchildren will likely work only fifteen hours a week. The rest will be leisure.” - John Maynard Keynes in 1930
Given the tendency of certain past civilizations to treat false prophets and their descendants somewhat rudely, the offspring of the famous economist quoted above can be grateful that Grampa and/or Great-Grampa’s financial advice was generally more reliable than his ability to foretell the future.
In fact, so confident was Mr. Keynes that today’s population would be spending the better part of our week playing golf or hob-nobbing at Tim Horton’s that he opined even further that our biggest problem would be in deciding “how to use [their] freedom from pressing economic cares, how to occupy the leisure so to live wisely and agreeably and well.”
To be sure, I’m all for living wisely and agreeably and well - I just wish that I, well, that I had more time to engage such noble pursuits. For contrary to what the optimistic Mr. Keynes forecast more than eighty years ago, you know as well as I do that putting in the necessary hours to financially stay ahead of the game these days continues to chew up a large portion of our waking hours. In somewhat of an ironic twist to what Keynes predicted, time, and finding enough of it, has perhaps become the currency of the 21st century.
In fact, it could be said that one of our biggest challenges today is to live wisely and agreeably and well just in order to regularly find some of that leisure time that was supposed to be in such abundance by now!
So precious has time become that, to borrow from Keynes’ economic sphere, it is not unusual for many of us to consistently find ourselves in debt to or short-changing ourselves and those we love most with respect to what is owed time-wise. We may well be overdrawn in terms of time we owe people more than in terms of money we owe anyone.
The start of a new school year and getting reacquainted with “normal routine” is as good a time as any to pause and think about your currency of time and how you spend it. Remember how often you found yourself last school year saying “if only I had more time?” Recall your determination last year not to allow the kids to talk you into signing them up for as many extra-curricular activities next year?
Well, next year is here, and in this first week of school your kids are going to be bringing home more ideas of how they’re hoping to be spending your time than Heinz Inc. has pickles. How are you going to respond Mom? Dad?
You see, with due apologies to Mr. Keynes, as it’s turned out it’s not so much the leisurely pace of life that we need to learn to address wisely, agreeably and well, it’s the hectic pace of life we need to learn to address wisely, agreeably and well.
Tim Callaway is pastor of Faith Community Baptist Church in Airdrie. He can be reached at email@example.com