My Attitude About Time and Manna

clock and breakfast bread - photo by reneereneee on Pexels

Each day, God gives me enough time.

It sure doesn’t feel like it.

Today I did not have time to play my guitar or piano or read a novel, nor did I quilt, exercise, write an overdue thank-you note, or nap. I really wish I had more time.

And I remember the Israelites wanting more variety in the food God provided in the desert. It, too, was not enough. They wanted more than manna every day for 40 years. They went to bed complaining about the gift of free, plentiful food. (Numbers 11:4–6)

Each day, God rained bread from heaven so that people could gather their daily portion. And they grumbled. God hears my grumblings, too.

During a novena at the Ignatian Spirituality Center in Seattle, Seattle University’s Campus Ministry Director Tammy Liddell said, “Jesus tells us to ask for THIS DAY’S bread—fresh and nourishing. It, like time, can’t be saved up for tomorrow; it must be eaten and digested today, in this moment. You can try to save it for tomorrow, but it won’t taste good. It’s OK to eat it; God has promised us bread tomorrow.”

We can’t save time for another day either. As I age, time seems to go faster. This day is precious, and like certain foods, it has an expiration date. So I cram by multitasking. My mom used to say, “Loretta, you’re burning the candle at both ends and in the middle.”

When I’m goal-driven, I don’t savor moments. Yes, I have specific work to do, but maybe I’m swallowing the moments without chewing. I want more time!

Liddell said, “Jesus wants us to ask God to give us TODAY’S bread so that we might eat our fill and not worry about tomorrow.” Bingo. She named it. I worry instead of “enjoying the flavor and satiating my hunger.” I anticipate “tomorrow’s bread.”

The Israelites tried to save their manna, but it turned wormy, and it stank. (Exodus 16:20) Once I tried to save time by rushing, and I fell, breaking my arm. That experience was stinky.

The Israelites received exactly as much as they needed. Psalm 23 underscores my time/manna issue: “The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.” (NIV) I have enough time. I need an attitude adjustment.

When struggling with time’s limitations, it’s helpful to ponder some questions, praying a Particular Examen on attitudes about time.

  • Was I grateful for today’s moments? Did I savor and really taste them?
  • What if this week is my last one on earth?
  • Do I have a disordered attachment to my to-do list?
  • Whose voice is making me greedy for an eighth day this week?
  • Do I value rest and relaxation?
  • Is “good enough” good enough?
  • Am I demanding too much of myself or others?
  • Did I throw away precious minutes instead of asking myself, Do I really want or need to spend time on that?
  • Did I worry about tomorrow’s “food”? Did I try to steal food from tomorrow’s store by skipping proper rest or sleep?
  • How can I be more content with the time I have?

Close with a contemplation on these words from the Our Father: “Give us this day our daily bread.”

God, please help me intentionally spend the time I have and the gifts of time I will receive tomorrow. Because all is gift. All of it.

Photo by reneereneee on Pexels.

11 COMMENTS

  1. Every Wednesday morning I zoom in for Centering Prayer. I am grateful for the pearls of wisdom this group has to offer. Choose the Love of God’s presence, and you’ll never miss the joy He has planned for you. Each and every day has Divine surprises. Live each day embracing the gifts through relationship. Bright Blessings!💌

  2. Thank you Loretta! Speaking of having time–this post reminds me to take some moments to look at the two or three notifications I get for inspirational thoughts instead of thinking, “OH, I’ll look at it later!”

    • I wish I had more time to meet everyone who replied to this post personally. I know we would have great conversations.
      I am looking forward to talking to you all when we get to heaven. Thank you for being YOU.

  3. Loretta, you are sooo talking to me with this post! I’ve thought about time in some ways as you’ve described (especially “Do I want or need to spend time on that?” when it comes to apps on my cell phone, and trying to “steal food from tomorrow’s store” when it comes to rushing or multi-tasking). But you gave me a new perspective on time with your linking of it to the manna from Heaven that came daily from God to the ancient Israelites. Yes, we have a fixed amount of time given to each of us each day and it will be the same tomorrow. I think the keys are to savor the time we are given, slow down, and remember that “good enough” IS good enough. Thank you for this thoughtful reflection.

  4. Wonderful, Spiritual thoughts on how precious time is used. Thank you for your wisdom, as I take the time to read it carefully-twice over.

  5. A very timely article! With our tethers to emails and other social media, job deadlines, family demands, volunteer work–and the list goes on and on–there’s not much time to savor time, to savor this gift that God gives us hear on earth. It calls to mind another aspect of time: God rested on the seventh day. Was that a waste of time? I think not.

  6. Loretta – this was such a wonderful post. It really touched my heart, mind and soul. I get so caught up in my busyness and complain and lose track of everything and my mom too says the same as yours. This was so needed I will definately do this Examen tonight. What a great way to think of the blessing of time we receive each day. Just love it. Thank you!

  7. So very true about the tendency to grumble.
    My commitment to doing a daily examen in the morning and in the evening helps to keep things in perspective for. Thank you Loretta for sharing your words of wisdom.

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