The concept of “Day Light Savings Time” never ceases to amaze me.
If you belong to the category of people who love to pay massive attention to details, you may have realized that in managing the time and date settings on a cellular or pc electronic device, the option of whether to keep Daylight Savings Time “ON” or “OFF” is present. It was not until recently that I decided to find out what it really meant and how it actually worked.
Daylight Savings Time (DST) involves the changing of clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Like the term attempts to define itself, the aim is to make better use of daylight and to save energy by extending light during evening hours, and sacrificing normal sunrise times. In the United States for instance, the time shift (during spring) occurs at 2:00a.m and this is how it works: the clock ‘springs’ from 01:59a.m standard time straight to 03:00a.m DST (instead of 2:00a.m) recording a total of 23 hours in that day. In autumn, the clock ‘falls’ from 01:59a.m DST back to 01:00a.m standard time (instead of moving to 2:00a.m), recording 25 hours in that day due to the hour repetition. Men like Benjamin Franklin and George Vernon Hudson greatly contributed to the birth of this idea as a means to conserve energy after observing the trend of electricity usage in the homes of people during morning and evening hours. The proposal was later accepted and implemented in the 1900s. Normally, electronic gadgets will automatically adjust to these changes but if not, you have to set the clock forward by one hour near the start of spring and adjust them backward in the autumn to regular time. You don’t have to worry too much about this phenomenon if you live near the equator. If not, you gotta keep track of DST always!
In Luke 13:6-9, Jesus gives us a slight illustration of how He attempts to ‘set the clock back’ for our own sake in order to make more time to rescue the perishing. Jesus’ parable of the barren fig tree is expected to 1. help us envision the frustration experienced by God who expects nothing but productivity in our lives and 2. to make us aware that a solution has been offered to surmount the problem. But what’s the big deal with the cut-down? After all, isn’t that rather going to set us free to live our own lives and pursue our own dreams? Don’t answer yet. Follow me to ‘Destiny Hall’ (That’s how we called our Exam center back in the university). Picture yourself seated in an exam room. What will be your reaction if you heard ‘five minutes more!’ after finding out you’ve deviated with your write-up (according to the marking scheme)? Now, this is your last re-sit exam we’re talking about here: a trail means immediate withdrawal from the school. At this rate, your skin begins to cry even when you’re comfortably seated under the air-conditioner. You don’t struggle to sweat because you know failure is certain unless someone intervenes to save the situation. Just when all seems to be lost, the Examinations Officer says, ‘I have decided to add an extra forty-five minutes to the remaining time, you should thank the Chief Invigilator later for that. Now that he’s also taken his time to explain further what each question entails, make sure you write something sensible on that paper because most of you were initially on the wrong path!’ WHEW!!! WHAT A RELIEF!!!
The most appropriate thing to do when you receive a correction like this is to recalibrate your route: Make a stop, turnaround and ride along the right path. But this is exams anyway. Intervention or no intervention, it isn’t that much of a big deal because it’s nothing compared to what Jesus is actually referring to in His parable. He’s looking at life itself and eternity at large. The world’s problem is far too steeper than what we see as mere good vs bad. The prophet Jeremiah speaks of the nature of the human heart as deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. Moral ethics and social constructs alone fail to treat its evil condition. And because of that, we helplessly remain in our unproductive state. It is for this reason Jesus’ offer stands exceptional in the sense that He ultimately reveals to us the heart’s need for something much deeper than social conventions or “ethics rehabilitation” classes. But this needs time to take maximum effect. That’s why in the parable, the gardener (Jesus in this case) requests for additional time to dig around the fig tree. He must till the ground, remove weeds, prune branches, apply fertilizer to the soil and so on. Gradually, we come to the point of realization that Jesus does not come to make bad people good but to regenerate lost souls with the hope of offering us eternal life.
That which He came to do is complete because He said so some two thousand years ago ‘it is finished’. The decision is in your hands now. Make up your mind while the day stands tall because the clock is ticking and night is gradually drawing nigh. Jesus in the kindness of His heart still pleads constantly on our behalf for time extension so that man can return to true righteousness in genuine repentance. As if that is not enough, He tells us again in a metaphorical language how He represents the only bridge that leads us back into the arms of the Great Shepherd. Today, if only you would hear Him say,
“Choose to love me as I love you, choose to honor me, worship me, and receive my FREE gift of salvation, or choose to live out your eternity forever separated from all that is good”.
Immortality sounds great a promise but choosing to live it alienated from the personhood of God where true goodness abounds is the pursuit of a certain horrible life of torment.
But how can the lost call for help if they don’t know whom to trust? How can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? That is our call to proclaim the glad tidings of good things. That’s why scripture exclaims,
“A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
Telling all the good things of God!”