Obsessed with Time
As a society we are obsessed with time. Most people wear a watch, a watch that tracks their heartbeat, steps, and location while delivering email and text messages. There are clocks everywhere. Our computers and phones display the time, here and anywhere in the world. We need to be to work, to school, to church, on time. We need to leave work and school on time and if the sermon doesn’t “run over” we leave church on time too. Sports events and television shows pay careful attention to time so that they can insert as many commercials as possible even though “the show must go on.” Time can create frustration, anxiety, and stress. Depending on the circumstances, time can fly by or pass at a snail’s pace (0.03 mph for a garden snail). Plautus the Roman playwright said, “Confound him who has cut and hacked my days so wretchedly into small pieces. Confound him who in this place set up a sundial. I can’t even sit down to eat unless the sun gives leave.”
Is God Obsessed with Time?
Christians should always evaluate their actions and the things that they value from Godly perspective. I think it is fair to ask, since we are obsessed with time, if God is also. Only a few pages into the Bible “there was evening, and there was morning – the first day” (Genesis 1:5). God created time. Jesus said, “my time has not yet come” (John 2:4) and later said “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorifies (John 12:23). Jesus was fully aware of what time it was. And, then there are the numerous Scriptural passages related to time in Ecclesiastes, especially Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, which are the lyrics for the Peter Seeger (1919 – 2014) folk song Turn, Turn, Turn made most famous by The Byrds in 1965. Pete Seeger’s description of his song, recorded by Smithsonian Folkways, is quite excellent. There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1). A portion of one of the eight verses is, there is “a time to tear down and a time to build up” (Ecclesiastes 3:3).
In Philip Ryken’s book, Ecclesiastes – Why Everything Matters, the author has a relevant example of what time it was when the Phillies played their last baseball game on October 01, 1970, at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia.
A Time to Tear Down
What was left of the stadium was damaged by fire the following year, and by 1976 the field was overgrown with weeds. Finally, Mayor Rizzo gave the order for its demolition. It was time to tear the old place down.
A Time to Build Up
In 1981 Deliverance Evangelistic Church bought the parcel of land with a vision to serve the city with a gospel-centered community. The church made space for ministry and Christian education, built homes for the elderly, and eventually constructed a large sanctuary (seats 5100) for the worship of God.
Our Time to Tear Down
On January 31, an era ended for the Green House on the Northstar property on Prices Fork Road. Families, tenants, and Northstar interns have lived in this house for over the past many decades. Some materials from the house were salvaged, some were donated, some were brought to the landfill, and masonry materials were buried on the back corner of the property. The hole was filled in with dirt from the property. If you drive by, it’s as though the house was never there.
Our Time to Build Up
With the Green House removed it is time for construction of the Northstar Ministry Center to begin. These ten acres of land has existed for millennia. Over the years, forests and crops, people and animals, and probably structures of various sorts, have come and gone.
Now it is our turn. With seating for 600 in the main auditorium and a spillover area seating 350, we can accommodate significant growth. The building accommodates spaces for various age groups and is intended to be welcoming to our community at large. The design incorporates the surrounding natural beauty. The Ministry Center will be in a high visibility, high traffic area with planned growth all around us.
Studies have indicated that there are about 50,000 people in our community who claim to attend no church of any religion or denomination. During the planning phases of this project we have continued to Be the Church. During Construction we will continue to Be the Church. And, when we open our doors to the Northstar Ministry Center we will have a new tool to use as we continue to Be the Church “for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14).
A theme of Ecclesiastes is the vanity, pointlessness, and futility of “living under the sun.” A parallel theme, and the reason for Ryken having subtitled his book “Why Everything Matters” is the fulfilment, purpose, and reward of “living under the Son.” The Northstar Ministry Center is becoming a reality because the people of Northstar are willing to use a portion of their time, talent, and resources for kingdom-oriented purposes. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). From the looks of things, the people of Northstar know what time it, their heart is in the right place, and are doing a great work.