Ponderings by Doug

Koine Greek is the original language of the New Testament. In Koine there are two words for time.

The long expanse of time is described by the Greek word chronos. It is how long a sermon seems when listening to it. Chronology is a good way of thinking about this Greek word. A passage of scripture that uses the word is Galatians 4: 4, “In the fullness of time (chronos), God sent His son, born of a woman to fulfill the Law.” Chronos is the big view of history. 

The other Greek word for time is kairos. Our word crisis is related to this Greek word. Kairos carries the meaning of “an opportune time” or “time to act.” When the inspired writers of the New Testament used kairos they meant that people needed to do something, quickly.

Thus endeth the Greek lesson. Now for practical application.

My bride believes in customer service. Several of her bank customers have her cell phone number. They are not afraid to use it either. I have learned that bank time is kairos time. Many of her customers call with various levels of crises. She answers the calls or texts no matter what time of day.

I can tell what they are asking by looking at her lips. If her lips disappear they are asking a stupid question. An example of a stupid question is, “Miss Tamara, I’m in Las Vegas could you raise the daily limit on my debit card?” Her lips will completely vanish on that one. 

Saturday my bride received a banking text. One of her customers went to the ATM to make a withdrawal. The customer claimed that the machine didn’t give her the money. Tamara’s top lip vanished.

She told me that we were going to do an experiment on that ATM. We drove to the offending machine and I was authorized to take out twenty dollars to make sure the machine worked. It did. She allowed me to keep the twenty. As we were driving off, she had an epiphany. She said, “I know what may have happened to her money.”

It seems that ATM machines will suck your money back into the machine if you don’t grab it quick enough. She made me return to the ATM machine. She said, “Withdrawal twenty dollars and don’t touch the money. Tell me when it appears, and I’ll start timing.” I did as told. The twenty appeared. I didn’t touch it. I did yell out, “Start.” I watched the money faithfully and patiently. Suddenly the machine sucked the twenty dollar bill back in.

The twenty sat there for twenty seconds before the machine sucked it back in. My bride was timing the machine.

I didn’t know ATM’s would do that. She did.

The nice lady only thought the machine didn’t give her the money. She may have been doing something else while her money hung out of the machine. Maybe she was dilly-dallying. Looking at her face in the rearview mirror, rearranging her purse, fiddling with her XM radio or playing on her cell phone. Not paying attention to her money hanging out of the ATM. The machine waited for twenty seconds and sucked the money back in. I verified with my wife that her money and my money were both in the “suck back” drawer of the ATM this morning.

That is the illustration of kairos time. God gives us opportunities to change, repent, follow, lead or get out of the way. If you don’t take advantage of God’s kairos quickly. He will withdraw the opportunity.

What time is it in your life?


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