I have to confess that when I walked by the clock I had never heard of either William Clement or Robert Hooke. I was just thinking that the clock must have stopped. The hands on its face read 7:30 and it was well past 9 p.m. I quickly realized it wasn’t a case of time standing still. The pendulum had stopped moving. That’s what happens when you fail to take care of the essentials.
It wasn’t the first time the clock had stopped. When Lori purchased the grandfather clock as an anniversary present, I made it my job to keep it running by winding it once a week. That seemed to do the trick. Yet, every so often I would get busy with other things and neglect to rewind the clock. That’s when it would stop. It wasn’t the clock’s fault. It was on me.
A week is a pretty good run for a clock. We can thank the 17th-century clockmaker William Clement for that. He was the first to use the new anchor escapement mechanism developed by Robert Hooke. It meant the clock didn’t have to be wound as often. It also allowed the pendulum to be encased in a beautiful cabinet. None-the-less, you still had to wind it to make it work.
The truth is that no matter how beautiful something is, there is always a limit on how long it can be used before it has to be rewound or recharged. It is true for even the most technologically advanced products. My Apple watch lasts about two days between charges. My laptop computer lasts a little longer. It all depends on how much I use it. If it isn’t plugged in it will cease to function.
It is true for people too. When I was in college I worked the graveyard shift at a 24-hour convenience store. Some days I never got to bed in between shifts. There was just too much going on. I dreaded losing a whole day to sleep. I often pushed the envelope and found I could go up to 36 hours without going to bed.
I wouldn’t recommend it though. After that prolonged stretch of activity I’d often crash for the next twelve to eighteen hours. My body demanded a break. You see, we weren’t meant to go on forever. I think that’s one reason why God commanded us to observe a Sabbath rest. Our creator knew that in order to live life to its fullest, we all need time to renew our mind, body and soul.
Psalm 139 says that we are fearfully and wonderfully made. Yet, our batteries run out unless we are plugged in to God. We need time with Him to restore our souls. Our clocks need to be reset. Jesus understood this and modeled it for us. Time after time, we see him stepping away from the crowds to be alone with God. He comes back renewed and ready to face his challenges.
Do you need to have your batteries recharged? Does it feel like your clock is winding down? Then do what the old gospel hymn says and “Spend a little time with Jesus.” It will make all the difference, and before long you will be marking time again.
The Rev. Cal Lord is pastor of Central Baptist Church in Westerly.