The Measurement Of Time

October 15, 2000
by Jim Wagner

Acts 1:7 – He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by His own authority." (NIV)

One of our writers mentioned recently about waiting patiently for God in His good time. It got me to thinking about our confusion regarding time, because we English-speaking people have but one word to describe the passing of time: "time". The Greeks were a bit more sophisticated in describing things with different words. "Time" is one of them. The Greeks had at least two words for time: "kronos" and "kairos".

The word "kronos" or "chrono", is used regularly in our vocabulary. We use "chronology", "chronic", "Chronicles", and about 14 other derivatives of the root word, "kronos". The definition of "chronology" in my dictionary is "the science that treats the measurement of time by regular divisions, and which assigns to events their proper dates." In other words, it is man's time. We, man, set the standard. And are we ever precise about it! Commercials on television and radio are timed to the split second. Is it any wonder we ignore "kairos", a mere mention in the footnotes of "chrono"?

"Kairos" is God's time. He sets the standard and it is not for us to know the times or dates.

I heard a good example of the difference between the two words. Suppose a pregnant woman's doctor sets her delivery date as October 21 at 10:34 a.m. On October 15, at 2:00 a.m., in wee hours of the morning, she wakes her husband and says, "Honey, it's time." What do you suppose her reaction would be if her husband tells her to go back to sleep because it isn't the 21st nor is it 10:34 a.m.?

That is the best example I have come across that illustrates the difference between man's time and God's time. It is an example that we can apply to many situations in our lives. When we can shed ourselves of ourselves, and place our trust in God's time, not ours, then we can begin to get a deep appreciation of the unfolding of God's plan for His creation and not ours.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, teach us to place our trust in you, that you are the Master and we your humble servants. For it is in you, and only you, that we find the peace that passes all understanding. Amen.

About the author:

Jim Wagner
Beaumont, Texas, USA

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