Having spent significant time in India at this point, I notice that the Indian perception of time is rather different from the western notion. (Indians joke that “IST” actually stands for “Indian Stretchable Time.”) In India, transactions are relational rather than time-based. In terms of the hierarchy of priorities, the person is far more important than the schedule. Westerners can be easily frustrated by this. Indians seem to waste so much valuable time with preliminaries – the “How is your family?” and “Have you had your breakfast?” questions that seem to extend every interaction without providing useful content. They seem to show disrespect by showing up late for meetings.
But as a believer, I am not a Westerner, but a citizen of heaven (according to Philippians 3:20). I ought to be exemplifying a “kingdom lifestyle” while I am here on this planet. Two facts about the Kingdom of God:
- There is no time (that’s why they call it “eternal life”);
- There are plenty of other people (that’s why they call it “the city of God”).
The kingdom, in this respect anyway, looks a lot more like India than America. It is all people and no time. Time is not a concern. Therefore, if I am constantly prioritizing time at the expense of relationships, I am not living a kingdom lifestyle. I need to take a fresh look at my priorities and consider how to elevate people over schedule in my hierarchy of daily living.
“For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”
1 Thessalonians 2:19
People are forever!