Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Time-consuming (02/24/11)
- TITLE: Tool or Taskmaster
By Hiram Claudio
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He was running down a busy city street from an appointment back to the office. He was always running. He wanted his life to accomplish something. He detested being idle or things that took time without yielding tangible benefit.
So he cut down an alley … to save time. Little did he realize what waited for him. As he darted through it, his foot kicked a box he thought was empty. When it didn’t give the way an empty box should, he realized a person, a woman, was inside.
He stopped, “I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”
The woman replied, “I’ll live.”
He was in a rush. But his conscience told him that to just keep running would be rude. Especially after pastor preached on Sunday about being kind to strangers.
He said, “My name is Tony. What’s yours?”
“Jessica” she replied. She looked tired and beaten up by life.
“Well, I’m glad you’re okay but I really need to run. Way too much to do and never enough time” said Tony.
Jessica replied, “I see. Consumed by time are you?”
The wording paused him. He’d always measured activities on their end result. Ones that didn’t measure up he considered too ‘time consuming.’ Yet this woman reversed the words. He was still in a rush but had to ask.
“What do you mean ‘consumed by time?’ Don’t you have that backwards?”
“No. I said it right” she replied in a soft but firm voice.
“It is one thing to have something you’re doing consume time. It’s then labeled ‘time consuming.’ But it looks to me that you, Sir, are the one who is consumed ‘by’ time. You are so bound to the idea of making every single moment produce a tangible benefit, that time itself consumes you.”
He listened, forgetting for the moment he had two appointments that afternoon which had taken him weeks to schedule. She continued.
“Time is not your tool. It is your taskmaster.”
He countered, “Is it wrong to want to be efficient?”
“Not at all” she replied. “But ‘efficiency,’ as you put it, is not solely measured by activity or a checklist of accomplishments. You can just be sitting with your family or enjoying a quiet moment with a friend and that be time ‘well spent.’ You seem the type who can’t sit still, yes?”
He admitted “Not usually.”
“But if you’re never still, how can you listen? And if you never listen, how can you grow?” she then started to put the kicked box back in place.
When done she said, “Go ahead, work and accomplish in life. But don’t be consumed by time – controlled by your ideas of how of much it you have or don’t have. Honestly, do you think God is ever worried about or consumed by time?”
He never considered that.
“Don’t always be in such a rush. And even more importantly, don’t measure the value of your life just by the milestones reached. ‘Enjoy’ the time you have. Be time’s master, not its slave.” She then climbed back into the box.
He stood there for a moment. Lights were going off in his head. He saw a coffee shop at the end of the alley. He said, “Hey, can I buy you a meal? We can keep talking.”
But when he looked down, the box was empty. He looked all over the alley. She was nowhere. He thought to himself, “No one could move that fast.” He then remembered one reason pastor said why we should be nice to strangers (cause it could be an angel).
He walked into that coffee shop, sat down, and ordered a sandwich. “She’s right” he thought. “Nothing wrong with getting things done but I am consumed by the way I view time. I let ‘time’ tell me who I am.”
As he finished, the waitress came and asked him, “Do you have time for a piece of pie?” Just then, he got a text message from his secretary. It said “both meetings this afternoon cancelled – they’ll reschedule – no rush getting back.”
He looked at the waitress, smiled, and said, “Apparently I do … with ice cream and a cup of coffee please.”
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