The Bible uses two different ancient Greek words to explain time, chronos and kairos.
Although both words mean time, they have very distinctive meanings.
Chronos refers to minutes and seconds, the measurable units of time. Each day we receive a gift of 1440 irreplaceable minutes. We schedule the hours of our days, manage the appointments on our calendars through the chronos outlook. In Psalm 90:12 we read
“Teach us to number of days that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”
It encourages us make the most of our time in our day to day planning.
Kairos means an opportune moment, an appointed time, or a due season. It refers to the serendipitous moments when God orchestrates events to accomplish His purpose. One kairos moment is explained in Galatians 4:5:
“When the time had fully come, God sent His son, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full right of sons and daughters.”
The cross was another kairos moment, as told in Romans 5:6:
“At just the right time , when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.”
God, the creator of time, resides outside of the limitations of time and coordinates the world for the fulfillment of His purposes.
Kairos also intersects with our chronos lives. The kairos moments are also gifts of God. We recognize and remember Him in those “God moments.”
One instance of this was several years ago when I had been struggling with disappointment in my life circumstances. Things hadn’t worked out like I wanted. The dreary overcast day matched my mood. Around supper time, my husband called, saying that when he stopped to get gas on the way home, he thought he recognized someone at a nearby pump. With the courage needed to speak to a possible stranger, Rick spoke to the man and realized he was indeed someone we knew from years ago, someone from a previous community whom Rick had mentored. This fellow traveler needed gas for his journey. Rick asked him to come to our house. During our meal conversation, this man recalled past times and spoke encouragement to us. It was just what I needed to recall God’s plan. I was blessed because of the kairos moment that began at the gas pump. Reconnecting over the need for fuel was a “God moment.” For once I was glad the gas tank was nearly empty at that appointed time!
We each have time on our hands. We decide how we fill each day. But God holds time in His hands. He sees the big picture. Look for His fingerprints each day to make the most of the time you’ve been given. The challenge is to live with a kairos mindset in a chronos world.