Spending Time in 2018

How will you spend your time in 2018?

By Rodrick Burton

Happy New Year to all the readers of this column. It seems like there is no greater focus on time then during the holiday season. There is a pressured run up to Christmas and Hanukkah to make arrangements, travel plans, event plans and to purchase gifts. Then in the time between Christmas Day and New Year’s, the media outlets use many reviews of the year as subjects for content. The passing of celebrities and notable figures are included along with events in politics, the arts and the national news are rolled up into countdowns and year-end reviews.

Again, as New Year’s Eve closes there is a rush and focus on how time will be spent in the last moments of the year. The rush is to make plans or to plan events to collectively mark the last seconds of the year and to celebrate the New Year. Again, a discussion of plans for time are common in the discussion of resolutions. These resolutions typically fall under the category of self-improvement or finances; however, what is rarely discussed or considered, despite all the great interest and adherence to time during the holidays, is time itself.

During the last year I was officiating, participating in or attending over 100 funerals. Funerals are part of any clergy’s job and in some cases whether due to demographics or mass tragedies, some clergy attend far more services than others. While at these services I have become acutely aware of time, and especially in the obituary how the departed used or did not the precious gift of time.

The average person will sleep eight hours a day. During those waking hours it is reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average American spends 1.17 hours eating during a weekday. Americans are now reported to spend 506 minutes a day consuming all forms of media. That’s over eight hours a day on social media, the internet, listening to music, watching television, movies, etc. My question to everyone is how will you spend your time in 2018? Will the vast amount of precious time be spent as a spectator of the year’s events or as an active participant in your life’s time and in the time of others?

Rodrick Burton is the pastor of New Northside Missionary Baptist Church, a member of the St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition, the Ecumenical Leadership Council, St. Louis Initiative to Reduce Violence (SIRV), Voices for Early Childcare Programs and a field education mentor at Covenant Theological Seminary.