By Guest Columnist John Vaughn, Pastor, Cross Roads Baptist Church
Happy March to you! Two significant things will happen during the month of March. The first day of Spring will be on the March 20. Are you ready??
The second significant date in March will be March 13, which is the first day of Day Light Savings Time (DST). There is always a lot of discussion about DST. Some like it and some don’t! Most folks I know would rather stick to one or the other time and not switch back and forth.
One year, right after DST had gone into effect, there was a heated discussion on a radio talk show. Those on both sides were calling in to the host to express their approval or their dislike of DST. One older lady called in and said, "I wish they would just leave the time alone. That extra hour of sunlight is 'bout to burn my 'maters up!"
Then there was the old American Indian Chief who said, "Only the government would believe that you can cut a foot off of one end of the blanket, sew it on the other end of the blanket, and end up with a longer blanket!"
Remember that this month, we’ll be going "on" DST, so on Saturday night, March 12, you need to set your clock ahead by one hour. Spring forward. Of course, the net effect is that we’ll have a 23 hour day, and you’ll lose an hour of sleep!
It was Benjamin Franklin who in 1784 proposed the idea of aligning waking hours to daylight hours. He wasn’t thinking about "saving" daylight. His thought was that if people got up at sunrise and went to bed earlier, then they could conserve candles and save a lot of money! Remember, he also said, "Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise!"
In 1916, Germany and the United Kingdom put DST into practice during World War I. The United States instituted DST in 1918 in order to conserve fuel needed to produce electricity during the war. Other countries followed, but most areas reverted to standard time after the war. In 1942, the United States reinstated DST for the duration of World War II.
The Uniform Time Act of 1966 established a system of uniform DST throughout the country, except for states that voted to stay on standard time. Only Arizona and Hawaii opted to stay on Standard Time year round and don’t have to go through the ritual of changing their clocks twice a year. Proponents of DST point out the reduction in energy consumption. Opponents claim that the benefit doesn’t justify the adjustment of clocks twice a year and note that the disruption of sleep patterns in the spring corresponds to a spike in the number of serious auto accidents, among other problems.
In the spiritual realm, this biannual changing of the clocks can serve as a reminder that we have a limited time on this earth. Jesus was keenly aware that he had only three years to carry out his earthly ministry. He wanted his followers to have that same awareness and dedication to their God-given assignments. Jesus made the most of his "daylight" and accomplished his mission before he died. And He told His followers in John 9:4, "As long as it is day, we must do the work of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work."
We live in the day of salvation, when God’s grace shines like the sun. We need to be about the business of bringing others into his kingdom. But time is short. God has fixed the date, since the foundation of the world, when this present age will end. We don’t know how brief or how long our life will be.
So while you are changing your clock this month, remember to make a renewed commitment to make the most of every day in your service to the Lord. Be sure to take your family to church on Sunday!