Know What Time It Is

It was early April, and I was headed west on US 83 along the Rio Grande River in Texas. I was scheduled to attend the national Registrar’s convention in Dallas but had flown down early to spend a few days birding the lower Rio Grande Valley (between Laredo and Brownsville). I was using the town of McAllen as my base, and that is where I had rented the car at the airport the night before. On this particular day I wanted to be just south of Falcon Dam (about halfway to Laredo) by 8:00 a.m.

I had set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. When it went off, I arose, got some breakfast next door to the motel, and was on the road as quickly as I could be. Now I was coming into the small town of Roma, where the speed limit dropped down to 35 mph. Driving carefully (you can never tell how closely the police watch speed limits in small southern towns), I followed the highway as it became a twisting, turning main street of the town. I saw the “School Zone – Speed Limit 25 MPH – 7:30-8:30 am” sign, and saw the school on a triangular block to my right. I quickly checked the clock on the dashboard: 7:23. Good. The reduced speed limit didn’t go into effect for seven minutes. I continued on my way sure that all was well.

Moments later, I noticed a car behind me with flashing blue lights. Puzzled, but noticing there were no other cars headed our direction, I pulled over. A pleasant sergeant came to my window and thanked me for holding my speed so closely to the posted 35 mph. He said he’d clocked me for about three blocks. Next he asked me if I had noticed the School Zone sign. I assured him I had, and mentioned that I was a teacher, and that school zones were important to me. He next asked me why I hadn’t slowed down.

I told him I had checked my clock, and I had plenty of time. He suggested I re-check the clock. That is when I really got concerned. As it turned out, the clock on the dash was about 15 minutes slow. When getting into the car the night before and, again, that morning, I hadn’t compared it to my watch. I had just assumed it was right.

Have you ever been in a situation where you assumed you were doing “the right thing”, only to have it end up not being the right thing? My intentions were good, and, based on my understanding of the situation, my actions were right. The problem was that I simply didn’t understand the situation. In John 13:17, Christ is quoted as saying, “If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” While He was speaking of a different set of “things”, I think the concept applies to what happened to me that day. I knew how fast I was going. I knew what a “School Zone” was; I knew how it was supposed to affect what I was doing. But I didn’t know the time. So there I was, NOT happy at knowing these things.

Of course, in the spiritual world, the concept has multiple applications. It is imperative that we always know what the spiritual time is, and what the situation is. Only then can we truly be happy; only then can we be safe spiritually.