Recently I posted the following thought on social media (@415Min @ReformdAgrarian ):
The most valuable resource you have is time.@E415Min
We waste time.
We cheapen time.
We spend time.
Time has infinite worth. It’s priceless because it is limited and non-renewable.
When we agree to employment there is a value placed on our skills, talents, and abilities. $=S+T+A But time needs to be factored into the equation. Because it’s of infinite, inestimable worth you’re always underpaid for your time. The only way to get the maximum value out of your time, is if it’s free. It reaches its maximum value in its freedom. Herein lies the greatest danger for time to be wasted. Any other value placed on time other than freedom, is slavery.
But this paradox is not limited to time.
The same is true of salvation from Christ. It is invaluable, priceless, of infinite worth. Yet it reaches its maximum value as a free gift. Any price placed on salvation wherein it is attempted to be earned, actually makes it worthless & in turn, one a slave (to the law).
Therefore, grace and faith leading unto salvation in Christ, though infinitely valuable, reaches its maximum worth as a free gift from God.
To combine time’s maximum value (freedom) with salvation’s infinite worth (free gift) is to live for the glory of God.
The impetus behind this was largely based on C.R. Wiley’s book, Man of the House, specifically chapter five entitled “Work”. In this chapter, Wiley begins with a quotation from a sign above the gates at Auschwitz that read, “Work Makes You Free.” He comments that this sign was a lie. As the chapter unfolds, it is an illuminating look at man’s relationship with work, as it has come to be defined by society. In this, Wiley sets out the proposition that working for a corporation, or any wage-earning job for that matter, is to be contrasted with owning productive property. He writes, “Here is the truth: if you do not own productive property you work for someone who does. Ownership is freedom and wage earners are not owners. It is just that simple.” (Wiley, pg. 39) Wiley is not suggesting that all work for a corporation (or again others for that matter) is inherently bad, rather that we should have a plan to work for ourselves, so to speak, beginning with productive property.
This plan for manumission, or freedom from slavery, Wiley says begins in the mind, “You must stop thinking of yourself as an employee. You must begin to work for yourself.” (Wiley, pg. 40) Here Wiley is quick to say that he’s not recommending quitting your job, at least not yet. In this section, he provides another salient summary point, “in a world where there are no secure jobs, owning productive property is as close as you can get to real economic security.” (Ibid) One of the strategies he suggests for moving in the direction of freedom from employment is freelancing, taking advantage of some companies need to lower costs and overhead. It is the section after this one that led me to the thought above.
The title of this thought-provoking section is, “Time isn’t for Sale, Results Are”. In setting up the argument here, Wiley summarizes the employee/employer relationship with regard to time. He writes, “[t]he employee sells his time. From the time he arrives at work to the time he leaves for home his time belongs to his employer. In contrast to an employee a freelancer sells results. He has clients as opposed to an employer. What a client purchases is a finished task by a particular date. But a freelancer often has control over how he uses his time to get the job done.” (Wiley, pg. 42) Furthering the summary, Wiley continues by highlighting the model of employee/employer, with respect to time, actually removes all incentive to get the work done quickly on the part of the employee as well as the incentive to let the employee sit around inactive with nothing to do. Conversely, if the freelancer finishes early he is free to work on another project or none at all. The only way for the employer to do so, that is to be freed up for other work, is to moonlight after hours. Freelancers far and away prefer their model versus traditional employment and Wiley cites a primary reason as their ownership of time.
Opposite this section in the book is an inset entitled, “The Philosopher: What’s Free Time Good For?”. By using these insets, Wiley is able to provide additional commentary on a particular concept by coming at it from a different perspective than his position as author. He does so from the perspective of The Curmudgeon, The Paterfamilias, The Craftsman, The Polyhymnia, and The Philosopher, as he does here. To this point of free time, the Philosopher adds that the Greek word for leisure is skola, the root for the English word school. Continuing, he writes
To the old way of thinking there was no direct road from practical concerns (what you do to put food on the table) and higher pursuits like truth, goodness, and beauty. To appreciate higher things you needed to step away from your daily routine.Wiley, pg. 43
To justify this you really needed to believe in another realm, one that transcends the material world we spend our working lives in. If you don’t believe in another realm you’ll equate leisure, or what we call free time, with the sort of recreation that does nothing more than get you ready to go back to work.”
The Sabbath forces people who would otherwise never have gotten around to it, to consider unseen things above. The best use of free time then is to use it for things you would never get to in the course of a normal working day. This is one of the things that distinguishes
In the rhythm of our lives, perhaps we can begin to see some conditions that would necessitate a 6-day work week and 1 day of rest or Sabbath, as the author points out. Our societal norm of a 40-hr work week, broken down into 5, 8-hr days with in effect two sabbaths is a relatively new invention credited to Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line (May 1, 1926).
Henry Ford said of the decision: “It is high time to rid ourselves of the notion that leisure for workmen is either ‘lost time’ or a class privilege.” At Ford’s own admission, however, the five-day workweek was also instituted in order to increase productivity: Though workers’ time on the job had decreased, they were expected to expend more effort while they were there. Manufacturers all over the country, and the world, soon followed Ford’s lead, and the Monday-to-Friday workweek became standard practice.Ford factory workers get 40-hour week (history.com)
These combined statements on time from Wiley’s book sparked thoughts in my mind, first about how much we waste time and second about how valuable it is. Everything is competing for our time and attention from within as with our own family, from without as with our employment, and then with the choices we make with our leisure time. Understanding that we have been conditioned to take leisure time as a respite and refresher for continuing in employment completely undermines and destroys its intended purpose. The reason ultimately is because our understanding of employment has been engrained into us from birth. We are literally schooled for employment and taught that there is no other viable alternative. Employment and work are not synonymous. They may be related, but they are not equivalents and substitutes one for the other. A man can viably work, yet not be employed. If I may summarize Wiley, we need to take back our time; take it back from employment such that it belongs to us. We need to understand the inestimable value of our time and stop cheapening it by selling it to employers. In doing so we will find that our time reaches its maximum value in its freedom, or what Wiley terms leisure. This leisure time is where our minds are freed to contemplate things above.
The connection with salvation in my statement above maintains the paradox with time, i.e. that it is worth the most when it is free and relates it to salvation that comes from Christ. Salvation too, and even more so, reaches its maximum value as a free gift bestowed on us by grace through faith. In Romans 4, the following argument is made that supports this idea of salvation as a free, unworked for gift.
What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:
“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,Romans 4:1-8
and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”
When we combine these concepts, that of our salvation in Christ as a free gift and time as freedom we begin to understand what it means to live life to the Glory of God.
If you have not yet embraced Christ as Savior, may God extend faith to you through His grace. May we have the wisdom to reevaluate our present situation with respect to both employment and time as well as have the courage to take the steps to make necessary changes.
Soli Deo Gloria