It's a new year, fine, but what's time?

A new year should prompt us to shed all past baggage. [iStockphoto]

No one works in the warehouse of time. The trucks ferrying time loads are unknown.

The experience of existing in time is a mystery. We all are thrust in time - we find ourselves here without asking. Our beloved are yanked out of time - not even the loudest wail can bring them back. We are told that it will be us to join them - at another time - not them to rejoin us here.

It is therefore right to say that time is a gift. The controller of time is clearly not one of us - must be higher than us. The creator of time must be timeless. The Timeless One - the one who was and is and is to come - is God. It is the Timeless One who allows us access into a new year. No one earns it - not even the righteous ones amongst us. The evil people too gain access. So the doors of the new year are not about the good entering and the bad being locked out. It is about the license of God.

The Timeless One allows the one He pleases as per His freedom. Wisdom dictates then that we enter this year with reverence. Away with chest-thumping! Out with branding ourselves as master death-cheaters! Away even with the thinking that because we are alive on earth we are superior to the dead! Ironically, as jubilant as people are to welcome the new year, no one can swear how much of it they will have. We shout and dance the year in as if by crossing over we have bagged the 365 days. Not so sure. Humans can make calendars and clocks. But that is as far as their influence goes - time management.

Heaven-sent goodies

Time manufacturing lies elsewhere away from the human realm. It slipped the mind of the biblical rich man that time was not in his hands. God came to him and said "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you."

For not honouring the principle that time precedes plans, the heavens deem a fool one who earth reputed as a rich man. If you really value your goals you must honour the giver of time. It makes sense now why James guided that we escort accounts regarding tomorrow with the words "God willing."

A new year does not come carrying luck in chiming tins and Santa Claus announcing Ho! Ho! Ho! A year carries time. It is not a train with wagons of heaven-sent goodies dropping them off at every doorstep. A year is as good as what you bring to it.

Your vision is given a slot in time. A year contributes time to your vision and minutes to your passion. Time is your earthly space to execute life. If you come into 2023 carrying nothing, the year will be worthless. A year only outputs what is inputted. Since a New Year is a gift of time, time consciousness is imperative to handle the gift well.

A time-conscious person knows that life comes in gift packages of seconds, minutes and hours. Their way of expressing gratitude is by making honourable use of the time packages. Time is not recyclable. All we have is reasonable control of what we can do with the time we are given. One way of mocking the Time Giver is by "passing time." One who watches time pass will soon pass away and live the time still, yes - passing.

The description "New" brings the image of freshness. It prioritises novelty - changes, nuances and adjustments. A new year carries an aspect of cleansing - an opportunity to begin again. If you smuggle all your old ways into time-batch 2023, the year is unlikely to be truly new. A new year is also a yardstick. Every ticking moment sounds the question "How are you doing as a time custodian?" To love the year, therefore, is to endear minute-by-minute evaluation.

Trips to the crossroads

It helps a lot to know that the Timeless One is available to help his creatures navigate through time. There is no better guide! We all have access to the Timeless One who has given us access to the New Year. Anyone can ask the Giver of the Year for direction, "How do I fruitfully manoeuver this New Year?"

One can also make the Time Giver an invitation "Unless you go with me, I will not move!" The Creator continues creating. God's agenda continues to be executed in time. To be caught up in this divine current is one of the greatest blessings one can experience. When the Lord of time gives bearing to your day at school and workplace relationships, you are poised to have a meaningful time.

One of the catastrophes of life is using time for the wrong purpose. Israelites were once told: "Go back to the crossroads and ask for the ancient paths." They had gone too far in the wrong direction. One should discern carefully to minimise the likelihood of being on the wrong path. Hasty moves may be famed as bold and their takers praised as risk-takers. But such potentially harbour multiple trips to the crossroads, often with tears and lowered heads. Accuracy is critical. It is better to return to the crossroads and gain the right bearing than insist on a road that ends up as a waste of time and sadly, a wasted life. Better a short life on the right track than a long life on the wrong track.

At a point, God's people were told: "You have been around this mountain for too long." They had changed a stopover into a destination. The place was right but the time they had spent at it was too long and therefore wrong. That a place is familiar does not mean it is home. Overstaying can lead to misplacement. There are always new horizons. There is always a higher level. Insisting on the mountain rounds would have meant missing out on Canaan.

Pre-mature settling leads to pre-mature crowning. This can be said of churches that pivot their identity on ancient traditions. Shedding these traditions is regarded as treason. Creating new traditions is handled with suspicion and pre-labeled liberal. Tethered to a romanticisation of the past and pressured by a practice of "passing on what we received" such churches are closed to the new the present can offer them.

Moving forward while facing backward, they are ritually blinded from the possibilities of new worlds. It is sad that the institution associated with the Timeless One is transfixed in time - and passed by time.