No man is poor who has the common currency- time.
Prominence is activated by three parameters: time, task, and terrain. Time is the blank birthday cheque of every born baby. It is an investment of life. Whatever you invest your time in, you invest your life in. Time to everyman, is a common currency. Right understanding of time boots self-worth. A lot of times men envy one another for the fact that we lack the understanding of our common currency; time not money. What each man spends his currency on determines his value. Should this concept be clearly understood, needless will struggle for prominence be. A catch is enough to identify the fisherman among equals. In the same way, an act is enough to attain prominence. Time makes it happen. Time is greater in value than money. Time creates money; money does not create time. Commodities are differently exchanged for money but not time. One of the elusive Bible character who understood the use of time is Philip. He is never enslaved by success. He knows that in kingdom business, the best lies ahead.
Prior to his discovery by the early church, his good reputation was concealed but undented. The Holy Spirit did move him around but in the church closet. His wisdom is not fussy. He was known only by the brethren not the leaders. When the church scattered, he did not go with the majority. Probably he was the last to leave Jerusalem. When he would leave, he had no associate. He was simply studying the time. How are great ideas and invention lost today for lack of understanding the time? The Bible does not disclose Philip’s age but he must be an elder. How long he has been in the church is unknown but he stooped to conquer. A time came for him to launch out, he did. At another time, he needed to step aside for the Apostles to step in, he did not fail to do so. At a time that he had to leave the city for the desert, he did not hesitate.
Time tests patience. The shift in time seemed enormous but Philip’s disposition was ever constant. The angelic instruction is time-attached. It is NOW. Both immediacy and end of an era are implied. It is not futuristic. New America Standard Bible nails it hard: “But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, “Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza.” (This is a desert road.). It was not yet time for Philip to build a tent or settle down. “Get up” depicts urgency. It is a wake-up call to the slumber or someone who has fallen asleep. It is different from rise up.
The language is used when a child is expected to be alert. Philip was not expected to be futuristic in his thinking neither was he expected to relax. He had no other time but NOW! God needed to keep him awake not because he was asleep but because he had been tested and proven. Note that the job description was not contained in the angelic instruction. How would a man leave home and head for a nowhere unless he understood the one who instructed?
Acting in one’s time sets others in confusion. It arouses curiosity as to why engaging in what one does at such a time. The act of a timely man portrays foolishness to all but himself. Imagine Philip leading the service at the Samaria city church that fateful day. He drops the microphone and catches the flight. Surely confusion sets in. A good number of the worshipers will suspect insanity. Probably some runs after him but return when he could not be overpowered. Should he be in the church council meeting as he hears the call, everything is abruptly brought to an end. Nothing can be compared to understanding the time. No matter how big the offer once the time is up, lingering is damnation. Lot’s wife did not understand this. She was held back by the city luxury even when she was hastened by the Angels. What makes a man mares another. No difference in cities structures. Philip was not tied to Samaria but Lot’s wife was tied to Sodom (Gen. 19:1-26).
The two characters spent the same currency but on different values. One spent on a course of eternal value but the other on ephemeral assets. One is eternally relevant but the other is eternally doomed. No man is poor who has the common currency- time. I am sure heaven will be full of surprises. Time investment will teach many irreversible lessons. Just as the rich man regrets his existence in Jesus’ parable and Lazarus gained eternity (Lk. 16:19-31), so many of the so called less-priviledged will gain the crown. Whatever a man is blessed with is investable with. Why is a man a CEO of a company when his university contemporaries are still unemployed? The opportunity is not limited to the pay cheque. Much more can be done that the unemployed colleagues are denied of. Why do some breakthrough where others experience delay? Why do some people laugh where and when others cry? Beneath every breakthrough is an investment.
Misappropriation of resources is inevitable when God’s ownership is not recognized. Realizing that he is a steward, Philip could answer God appropriately and promptly. He could obey his instruction without asking for job description. “…So he got up and went…” (Acts 8:27a. NASV). Philip acknowledges God as the piper who dictates the tune. The conjunction word so indicates God as the reason for his obedience. The life of this humble servant of God presents a great lesson to the Christendom. Reason replaces responsibility in our pursuit of fame. The instructions of the same God who is obeyed in the days of humble beginning are argued with as successes roll in. Interestingly what many refer to as success or prominence is the foretaste and preview of glory divine. Should the father not deserve the right to withdraw or withhold further gifts from a stingy child? Ponder on that!
By John Adepoju, being an excerpt from his book, “An Exchange For A Crown”