By Claire L. Eva, Assistant Director, General Conference Stewardship

Summary: If we will allow Him, God will take all of the quilt-like pieces of our lives and stitches them together into a meaningful whole.

Amy, our fair-haired five year old, was learning to count. The goal of her kindergarten class was to count to 100. While encouraging her along one day, she tilted her round cheeks upward, looked at me with liquid blue eyes and queried, Mommy, when are there no more hundreds? Taken aback with the depth her question posed, I replied, Oh, honey, hundreds go on and on. They never end!

Since that encounter, the concept of numberless numbers has repeatedly provided me with a tiny window into the fathomless knowledge that our God lives not in time, but eternity. It is we, His earth-bound children who reside within the perimeters of time and who therefore have been given time as a gift. How shall we then live within the limits of the seasons we have been granted?

After Christmas my husband, Will, and I took a short excursion to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. It was a journey, as it were, back in time, for we observed the ways of the austere Amish people of the area. We viewed neatly ordered farms with no sign of electrical wires about. We passed horse-drawn buggies on snowy roads and byways. One pastime that I particularly enjoyed was perusing the many Amish craft shops in the area. Of special interest were the beautiful hand-stitched quilts that Amish women spend hour upon hour creating. One quilt design is a type of memory quilt. Patches or fabric squares are taken from countless pieces of family clothing or cloth, which represent meaningful experiences in the life of that family. All of the pieces are stitched together to create a complete portrait, expressing a life of shared memories in the family’s history.

I like to imagine our lives as such a work, each experience or particular period—pleasant or painful— significantly representing our story. As we give ourselves to God, He gently gathers the fragments of our lives, with all of our joyous experiences and difficult patches of time, and stitches them together lovingly, creating a meaningful, valuable design.

This issue of Dynamic Steward considers the theme of time and how we might live more effectively for God in the moments we are given, with a view to the hundreds that never end. Solomon says, There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven (Ec 3:1). And this, we observe, is true. May it be our desire that God be Lord of our time. Then we will find meaning in every square of struggle, and beauty in every patch of delight that embraces a life well spent in Him.

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January–March, 2001

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