Where could you spend 2.3% of your time?

December 31st, 2013 Post by

Associate Editor’s Note:  The following was written for the newsletter of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Long Prairie, MN (Independent) which is served by LCMS Pastor and BJS Contributor Pr. Nathan Higgins. The article is a good reminder of spending time at church.

As we turn the page on another calendar year, I find myself thinking about a hymn in the “New Year” section of our hymnal. It is #123 – “Our God, Our Help in Ages Past”. The sixth stanza of that hymn reads:

Time, like an ever-rolling stream, Bears all its sons away; They fly forgotten as a dream Dies at the opening day.

Thinking about time, I started doing some calculations of time here at Emmanuel.

Sunday Services last (approximately) an hour and fifteen minutes. For good measure, if you bump this up to ninety minutes, and multiply that out by 52 weeks, you could spend up to 78 hours here at Sunday Services over the course of a year.

If you add to this the various forty-five minute Services – New Year’s Eve and Day, the four midweek Advent Services (sometimes there are only three), Ash Wednesday, the five midweek Lenten Services, and Ascension; plus an hour each for Maundy Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day; and then two hours for Good Friday, you would be talking about an additional 16 hours in Services for the year. This brings our total Service time offerings up to 94 hours.

You could further take the Sunday morning Bible class time and multiply those 52 weeks at 45 minutes each out to an annual total of 39 hours. To this, you could add the annual total of 52 hours for the Tuesday evening Adult Bible class. This would bring the grand total of Bible classes (open to everyone in the congregation) and Services up to 185 hours. Rounding this off (to cover any errors in my math), you would get nearly 200 hours of your life each year that could be spent at every Service and Bible class that is offered here at Emmanuel!

When you think about it, 200 hours is an impressive amount of time to spend in church! Yet, these 200 hours calculate out to only 2.3% of the total hours of life that God gives you – over the course the same year (24 x 365 = 8,760).

As you consider the blessing of time that God gives you in the coming year, please make a special effort to join us for the 2.3% in which we hear and study God’s Word and receive the gifts of God’s Word and His Holy Sacraments here at Emmanuel.

Our God, our Help in ages past, Our Hope for years to come, Our Shelter from the stormy blast, And our eternal Home!






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  1. jim
    December 31st, 2013 at 12:33 | #1

    Our life with God is not limited to 2.3% of our time.

    Life Journey and 1.1.15.6
    see http://www.stjstl.net/about/lifejourney-and-11156/

  2. helen
    January 1st, 2014 at 12:32 | #2

    As you consider the blessing of time that God gives you in the coming year, please make a special effort to join us for the 2.3% in which we hear and study God’s Word and receive the gifts of God’s Word and His Holy Sacraments here at Emmanuel.

    WOW!
    “Come to church; it will only take 2% of your (!?) time!”

    Not the most convincing reason!

    Then again, jim’s ‘bar and grill’ (I had to do a search to have Lutheran come up) doesn’t impress either.

    Happy New Year!

  3. jim
    January 2nd, 2014 at 09:52 | #3

    @helen #2
    Happy New Year, Helen.
    I know “Christian ” is more important than “Lutheran”. Why did you search for Lutheran?
    I do not understand your connection to “bar and grill”, an eating place with drinks.
    Anyway, my point was that we cannot pigeonhole God to a small time slot in our lives; He is part of all of our life.

  4. Amy
    January 2nd, 2014 at 11:47 | #4

    @jim #1

    It didn’t sound to me as if the author was suggesting that it’s acceptable to limit our life with God to only 2.3% of our time. He is speaking specifically to the time spent in church at worship services and bible studies, the time in which “we hear and study God’s Word and receive the gifts of His Word and His Holy Sacraments.”

    It has often struck me as I read other posts on BJS, regarding the content of the worship service, that, sadly, the majority of church goers spend about 1 hour of the 168 hour week in church (far less than 1%), as most do not attend a bible study. This, for me, highlights the importance of the pastor focusing on teaching God’s Word and administering His Sacraments during the worship service, as well as ensuring that the lyrics for music are as rich and educational as possible.

    Pastor Higgins is making the point, for all those who say, “I just don’t have the time…,” that in the big scheme, it is such a tiny amount of time to spend. And, what could be more important than hearing God’s Word and receiving His Sacraments?

    Good article. Thank you, Pastor Higgins.

  5. January 2nd, 2014 at 12:35 | #5

    Amy,
    168 hours is the average working hours for a MONTH not a week; it’s an hour for the 40 hour work week. Otherwise, your comments seem to me to be spot on. Thanks.
    @Amy #4

  6. helen
    January 2nd, 2014 at 19:19 | #6

    @jim #3
    I know “Christian ” is more important than “Lutheran”. Why did you search for Lutheran?
    I do not understand your connection to “bar and grill”, an eating place with drinks.

    I should be able to search “Lutheran” and find Christian, don’t you think? I wanted to know if the church was a Christian one with Lutheran doctrine and practice. If the Lutheran label isn’t “up front” I tend to wonder.

    If you will look at their invitation to quite an inclusive breakfast/brunch at their facility, you will find that they also cater various events and do include a bar if it’s wanted.
    [I am reminded of the tale of woe from a small businessman some time ago. He related that he had to close because a neighboring church provided the same service at a price he couldn’t meet. He had to pay taxes.]

    I agree that God is (or should be) a part of our daily lives. Most of us probably don’t do as much studying, praying or thinking about that as we could.

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