Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is (Ephesians 5:15-16 TNIV).

Our world is concerned with — almost obsessed with — time. Days, hours, minutes and even seconds are watched, counted and accounted for in our modern world. Calendars are an important part of our lives also in our modern world. We keep track of days, special days, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, work days and weekends. I wonder however, how really important it will all prove to have been in the end?

As we are still in the beginning of new year, I wonder how important the marking of this period of time is in the vast scheme of the universe. When my wife and I lived in Africa we had to learn how to look at time differently. We had to learn again that people were more important than time! We knew this, but our 21st century American time management, work ethic, says that time — almost always — is more important than people.

We can try to deny it, but stop and think about all of the schedules to which you adhere. This past Sunday evening, we were in our congregation's gathering for our regular evening worship and study period. We begin at 6 p.m. and at 6:07 no one had gotten up front to begin the meeting. People shifted uncomfortably, coughed, cleared their throats, and looked around to see what was holding things up. You see, someone was supposed to do something and nothing was happening.

When we lived in Africa, the church meeting would not begin until every member they were expecting arrived. Some of the folks might walk 10 miles to get to the meeting, and they sure didn't want them to miss anything just because we were trying to keep a time schedule. So we often would drink another cup of tea and visit a little longer, maybe discuss bible questions someone might have, but no one got upset because things didn't start on time.

His people are more important than anything else.
We became so disengaged from the clock and calendar that we often really didn't realize what period of the month it was. American holidays could come and go, and we were unaware of them unless reminded by someone. Our time revolved around Sunday as the Lord's Day, and we worked all of our other commitments around that priority. This was one of the hardest lessons for us to learn on our arrival to Africa, but it didn't take too long because it was the common practice with those we lived with daily. We have had a difficult time readjusting to the American Culture whose values are completely different when it comes to time.

I would suggest that just perhaps we need to stop and evaluate how important time is to us versus how important the people are that we come into contact with in our lives. People are always more important than marking time.

The Scripture is full of stories about people and time, just notice a few. There is the story of Paul making a point to be in Troas on a Sunday waiting for a week, just to partake of the Lord's Supper with the church there (Acts 20:6-7). Perhaps you remember a story relating long winded preachers, speaking until midnight found in (Acts 20:8). Or perhaps, you remember the story of a church rejoicing after midnight, because one of their members had been restored to life (Acts 20:10-12). And, of course, there is the most important story of the Savior who waited three days to rise from the grave, crushed the power of Satan, and gave us eternal life! (Acts 10:38-40)

All of these stories tell us that God, his commandments, and his people are more important than anything else in the universe. So, the next time you start to get nervous because things are not going according to "your" schedule, remember that in the long run, it's not all that important. God and others are more important than anything else.