When the parish I’m serving launched our refugee sponsorship campaign a few months ago, one of our committee members declared: “Your time is currency: SPEND IT.”
The context was encouraging people to consider gifts not only of money, but also time and talent.
The response has been wonderful. Aside from astounding financial generosity, we have received commitments of time—to be the phone contact, to collect and store donated furniture, to teach the newcomers the transit system, to assist in learning Canadian currency and shopping norms, to host a housewarming-type shower. The gifts are endless.
And they really embrace the notion of time as currency.
As our financial budgets reflect our values and priorities, imagine if we aligned our time into a budget of sorts. Our time, 24 hours per day, is open in how we will spend it. There are obvious, large chunks declare value; sleeping is essential, choosing to prepare and eat healthy meals is often a wiser choice than grabbing fast food in the car.
Work is another big piece of time, and within those hours we have some choice: we can choose a positive attitude, we can choose a job we enjoy, we can choose to use our efforts to make the world a better place.
A transit or shared commute can be spent in conversation, reading, praying, or maximising time on emails to be fully present to the people who will be at the office.
Our leisure time can be spent with loved ones, or participating in group activities with friends, or volunteering in our communities.
Our time can be used however we choose: however we use it, though, reflects our values. Our time budget tells us as much about ourselves as does our financial budget. What we choose to spend our time and money on will demonstrate what is most important to us, what is allocated first, and what is given last consideration. Budgeting teaches us how to compare the areas we want to have highest value with what our practices reality is.
So considering our own time (and money) budgets: where is God for you?
How prominently are God and the church within your budget? Are they receiving as much time as you would ideally like? And if the assessment is not lining up, how can you re-allocate time to allow for that desire?
I don’t have any answers—budgets are highly personal realities. But I do have a suggestion to consider. Your time is currency: spend it—with God.