Divers undertaking routine maintenance work in Blyth harbour, Northumberland discovered a giant lobster standing guard over a barnacle-encrusted wristwatch. The watch, though about three years old and not waterproof, was still going. With advancing years, the thirty year old lobster was clearly determined not to let time run away from him.
The lobster was taken to the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth where it settled in well in the harbour tank display. Blue Reef’s curator said: “Lobsters are well known for being extremely territorial. Perhaps it identified the watch as part of its territory and has been standing guard over it ever since.”
It’s not just the occasional lobster which keeps its eye on the time. It’s a habit many of us get into, mostly because we’re thinking about the next thing on our timetable. We’re more aware of the demands of the future and so fail to concentrate properly on the present. The danger in this is that we might miss the beauty that’s around us now but won’t last or the opportunities that this particular moment offers us.
When Paul writes to the Christians in Ephesus, he wants to encourage his readers to be imitators of God and advocates ‘redeeming the time’ (5.16). The phrase means making the most of every moment, filling every second with things that will make the best use of the time. We should be like God, he says, who, according to the biblical account of the creation, filled time with his creative activity. Time was God’s servant not God’s master.
When we let time rule our lives, we are living at one remove from life. Living in the present brings us into direct relationship with the unique experiences each moment offers. These might well be lost if our eyes are fixed permanently on our watches.
Read: Now is the time of God’s favour (2 Corinthians 6.2)
Rejoice: that I’m alive to enjoy this moment.
Reflect: In what situations or frames of mind am I most likely not to be focused on the now?
Remember: that time is a gift not a burden.
Resolve: for some time today at least, to live in the present.