In an 1895 Letter to the Editor in the Journal of Paris, Ben Franklin suggested a new system of sleeping and waking based on the sun rather than clocks. That same year New Zealand entomologist, George Hudson, proposed a two-hour time shift to allow himself more time to hunt bugs in the summer months. In 1902, William Willet recommended the British Parliament move clocks forward to “prevent the nation from wasting daylight.” But it was not until World War I that Eng-land initiated Willet’s proposal. Other European countries, as well as the United States, soon followed. On March 19, 1918, Congress enacted the Standard Time Act establishing time zones in the U.S. and beginning what we know today as Daylight Saving Time.
The idea of saving time by “springing for-ward” is ridiculous on its face. As the sage chief of one Native American tribe commenting on Daylight Saving Time observed: “Only a white man would believe that you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket and sew it to the bottom and have a longer blanket.” Man does not possess the ability to lengthen time or shorten time.
Time is not a tangible possession. It cannot be saved, stored, or treasured up. But time should be a valued treasure! Time idioms abound in the English language. “Here today, gone tomorrow,” “in the blink of an eye,” “better late than never,” are just a few of the dozens of idioms we use of time every day. We often complain there is “not enough time in the day” when the truth is we do not “manage time wisely.” The phrase Daylight Saving Time is a misnomer. The original thought and purpose of “changing time” was not to “save” it but to make better use of it.
The Preacher noted, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under the heaven”(Eccl. 3:1 -ASV). Are we using our time for the right purposes? The greater balance of our time should be used for spiritual endeavors. How much time do we spend strengthening our faith through a study of God’s word? How much time do we spend in prayer? How much time do we spend seeking opportunities to help others? How much time do we spend seeking and saving the lost? How much time do we spend encouraging others with positive words and deeds? For what purposes do we spend our time?
Jesus observed, “the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light” (Lk. 16:8). This unorthodox praise of a worldly generation teaches us that earthly things are not our possessions but have been put into our trust to be used wisely for spiritual purposes. We are stewards of all that God has given us. Has not God given us His time to use wisely for His purposes?