Janie B. Cheaney – Spent minutes

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, September 7th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. WORLD commentator Janie B. Cheaney now with some thoughts on the value of time.

JANIE B. CHEANEY, COMMENTATOR: Remember the proverb about the sluggard? “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest?” 

What about this:

A little click, a little swipe, a little scrolling and skimming down your Instagram feed,

and lost hours will stalk you like zombies; spent minutes like ghosts.

Where does the time go? Really—is there a place where hours and days pile up to exchange for some other value, or do they just disappear like raindrops on a hot pavement? Do I make time, or does time make me? 

I use a Passion Planner (registered trademark) to map the short and long ranges ahead of me. Passion Planner is big on motivation and goal-setting, with space for evaluating each month, strategizing for the year and setting markers for where you want to be when. Every month includes two pages for reflection on what you learned, what you’re grateful for, what you’ll do differently. In my planner, these pages go blank. 

Each week has a primary focus, a place to list positive events, an inspirational quote, and a so-called “Space of Infinite Possibility”; pure white, the size of an index-card, ready to be filled with creative ambition. Most of these go blank, too—I’m just trying to get through the week. The columns marking off days and hours do get filled—also the back pages, for lists, budgets, and ongoing projects.

So the planner is like a back-up hard drive for details I need to keep track of. And passing minutes are like software, always running, always falling into patterns. Patterns become habits that can so easily sink into vast swathes of “wasted” time—hours that can’t be recalled or remembered. Just as my daily calorie intake builds my body, passing time builds my character for better or worse. 

Paul writes in his letter to the Ephesians (5:14-16),

‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.’ 

Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

Look carefully. What did I purchase with spent minutes? How can I spend them more wisely next week, or next hour? Maybe the Passion Planner, for all its motivational clatter, is right to prompt me to spend some time in reflection each month, “looking carefully,” considering what I did with the time God gave me. Isn’t that part of wisdom? 

Most of us, I suspect, are sitting on a mountain of wasted time. The good news is we all have unused time ahead, though no one can say how much. The days are evil, but if Christ is shining, there’s enough light in each hour to make good use of it.

I’m Janie B. Cheaney.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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One comment on “Janie B. Cheaney – Spent minutes

  1. Russell Board says:

    This puts a new slant on the old saying, “Time is money.”
    Very helpful in considering what it means to “waste time,” which is really our most precious resource.

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