Kairos Moments in a Chronos World

Bible Text
Ephesians 5:15, 16: "See then that you walk circumspectly or cautiously, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time because the days are evil."

The New Testament was written in Greek[1], and the ancient Greeks had two words for time: Chronos and Kairos. Chronos (Χρόνος) gives us the word “chronology.” It implies minutes and seconds (tick-tock time) and refers to sequential time.

An example of Chronos time is an office worker who hates their job and can't wait for 5:00 pm to get out of there or a church member who has made after church plans, but the preacher is preaching long. We refer to Chronos time as "killing" time.

In today’s world, we tend to think of time with a Chronos mindset. We have a 24-hour day, that is 1,440 minutes or 86,400 seconds, but want more time. Our workweek is determined by the number of hours worked; we are reminded weekly to check "Chronos" and make sure our clocked times are correct.

Moses prayed in Psalm 90:12, "So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom." Numbering our days means evaluating the quality of our time spent. Not only must we consider where our time goes, but how we spend it and why. Our time on earth is brief(Psalm 39:4-6), and as God's stewards, we must use every second to glorify Him, putting God first in every area of our life. When a man dies, his tombstone displays his date of birth and his date of death, separated by a dash. What matters most is the dash that represents all the time he spent alive on earth and how he spent it.

Kairos (καιρός), on the other hand, points to the right, or opportune moment (the supreme moment), a moment of indeterminate time in which events happen.[2] Kairos is a vital time, God's time. While Chronos is tick-tock time, Kairos is a powerful moment when time stands still.

Kairos time is when God breaks into your routine and touches you so deeply that you can never be the same again. Kairos is a keyword used to describe Jesus' ministry. He went into Galilee saying, "The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye and believe the gospel" (Mark 1:15).

Jesus' ministry was filled with Kairos moments. Consider Zacchaeus for example—Jesus called him down from the sycamore tree, and Zacchaeus made a percentage-based ‘Promise’[3] to give half (50%) of all he had to the poor, and four times as much to those he defrauded (Luke 19:8). Blind Bartimaeus—no one was paying attention to him, but Jesus heard his cries, and that was his Kairos moment. The woman with the issue of blood crept up to Jesus, touched His robe, and it was her Kairos moment.

As zealous, good stewards of Chronos time, we sometimes miss Kairos opportunities before our eyes. A moment lost is an opportunity gone forever. Jesus explained this to the lawyer in the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37). Beaten, weary, left along the way, two religious leaders saw the wounded man but failed to help. These men were so occupied with their positions that they missed the opportunity to minister to the injured man. Yes, our time belongs to God and every moment is His. We must use the time to His glory. Time is a loan from God, and we will give an account of it.

God-granted favor
Kairos moments are all around us. I've had several Kairos moments where God, through someone, saw my need and rescued me. I got a call one day for a job interview with the treasurer of the Africa Indian-Ocean Division, now known as the West-Central Africa Division. Funny, I had never applied for a job with the division. A friend of mine, moved by the Holy Spirit, thought I was wasting my Chronos time by working for a Christian-owned investment firm, working with investment projects and foreign donors, flying all over the world and enjoying what I thought was the time of my life.

He convinced me that I needed to update my resumé and asked me for a copy so that he could work on it. Unbeknownst to me, he submitted my resume for the job. I’ll never forget my former boss’ response when I told him about my interview. He said, "Child, God wants you to work for Him. Who am I to stop it?" I went in for the interview and got the job. I’ve since enjoyed working for the church. My life has never been the same. God saw my need and worked through a friend to bring me into the field of workers.

As stewards, to appreciate Kairos moments, we must change our view of what time is. It's not about working with much vigor. It is about being focused on moments of opportunity for God to be glorified. We need to change our mindset. Instead of thinking of time as grains of sand slipping through an hourglass, we must view our time as opportunities.

Think of ways and opportunities where we can allow God to work in us. God to break the routine of our anxiousness and give us a break-through Kairos moment. Don’t be like the lawyer, glorify God and not self. Don’t be in so much of a hurry—as were the priest and the Levite—that life passes you by. Yes, we live in a Chronos world but have many opportunities to experience Kairos moments. Don’t be so focused on meeting deadlines that you miss the opportunities for ministry.

Zacchaeus, blind Bartimaeus, and the woman with the issue of blood all went seeking for Christ. They recognized their need to experience a Kairos moment. We too must be willing to seek God (Matthew 6:33) and learn of Him through our daily devotionals, our Sabbath School lessons, and Spirit of Prophecy. Jesus sought God first, early in the morning (Mark 1:35), and encourages us to do the same. It is my prayer that we will commit to developing the habit of using time wisely to experience Kairos moments.

Article written by Johnetta B. Flomo, Associate Editor