In the cult of GTD there is only one time: now. Everything must happen now, because if it’s doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen later. Time is scarce, attention is scarce, so map your project, define your next action, find your flow, and get it done now.
In Christianity, there are two times: the time which is passing away and the time which is coming. There is the time when we were slaves and the time when we will be freed, the time when the creation is subjected to futility and time when it will be renewed.
As Paul writes, ”the whole creation has been groaning in labour pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”
For Paul, the present is not an empty moment of potentiality, ready to be filled with next actions. ‘Now’ is an in-between time. The first fruits have been seen and tasted, but the harvest is yet to be brought in. It’s not a time for GTD but a time for waiting.
James encourages us to “wait patiently” for the coming of the Lord, like a farmer waiting for a crop. The Psalms sing constantly of patiently waiting for the Lord to act, to redeem his servant and bring justice. We can’t make everything right, so we wait for God.
When we’re impatient for change and focussed on getting things done, we can lose sight of other people and trample them with our plans. But in Christ, God has given us everything needful for life and salvation. There is nothing we need to get done.
I don’t mean that we have nothing to do. We have been given a gospel to tell, a church to love and a world to bless. Stanley Hauerwas says that in Christ’s death and resurrection, we have been given all the time we need to care for one another. Our life is about people, not plans.
The worst thing you can do for your legacy is spend time being friends with a disabled person. The worst thing you can do for your career is to leave work on time to get to bible study. The worst thing you can do for your social life is help at a soup kitchen on the weekend.
But in Christ, God has given us all the time we need to care for one another. There’s no rush to get anything done, because there’s nothing that we need to do. We are free to spend our time doing things that give us no return, no advancement and no recognition, because we belong to God, and wait patiently for him to make everything right.