Time Watchers

Time Watchers

Three students were time watchers, but that wasn’t what they should have been.

As I taught the grammar lesson, I watched their eyes dart back and forth like a scared rabbit fleeing from a determined hunter. They looked at me for a few minutes and then at one of my two classroom clocks. The ones who couldn’t tell time by my old-school analog clock hanging on the wall looked at my microwave.

I identified with them. I had been a clock watcher since I was young—and still am. The difference is that I didn’t watch the clock because I wasn’t interested in the subject matter. I tried to teach them as much as possible in forty-five minutes. I also knew the clock watchers would be the first to ask me what they should do when I issued the assignment because they weren’t paying attention. Instead, they were focused on their elective class—PE, going outside—instead of the grammar I tried to teach them. Or they were thinking about lunch.

So, one night while insomnia plagued me, I thought of a way to teach them a lesson. When I arrived in my classroom the following day, I changed the time on the microwave and the analog clock to random times. Soon, curious looks emanated from the clock watchers.

One young man asked, “Did we set the time back last night?” Another asked how much longer before the bell rang. Not thinking, I told her. Since she couldn’t read an analog clock, she memorized where the large hand would be the next day when it was time for the bell. Knowing what she had done, I changed the times again the following day.

My students expect me to aggravate them—that’s the kind of teacher I am, and they love me for it. My wife said she would have gone home crying every day had I been her teacher. But my aggravation had a point: Don’t focus so much on the time that you fail to listen and act.

A similar problem existed in Thessalonica, and Paul addressed it in his second letter to the church folks there.

“Yet we hear that some of you are living idle lives, refusing to work and meddling in other people’s business.” 2 Thessalonians 3:11 NLT

They so believed that Christ would return at any moment that they stopped working. Instead, they sat around all day, which led to them meddling in other people’s business. Perhaps they were unfamiliar with the adage, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop.” Paul told them to get busy with God’s work as they waited.

My dad was convinced Christ would return during his lifetime. He died still believing that, but he didn’t sit around as he waited. Instead, he busied himself doing God’s work.

I’m still a time watcher, but I don’t sit around while I watch, nor am I idle because I don’t enjoy doing what I’m doing. Rather, I’m time conscious. I want to do as much for God as possible in the few years I have and enjoy as much of life as I can while on this earth. My young students, though, didn’t watch the time because they wanted me to stop teaching so they could get on with their exciting classwork.

God has much work for us to do, which entails loving him and serving others. And none of us know how long we have. So, don’t watch the time out of disgust or boredom; watch it out of anticipation over all God will do through you.

What are the things God wants you to do?

Martin Wiles

Martin is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and the Directing Editor for Vinewords.net. He is an author, English teacher, minister, freelance editor, and founder of Love Lines from God (www.lovelinesfromgod.com). His most recent book is Don't Just Live...Really Live. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of six.

More Posts

One comment

Comments are closed.