Kairos Time – Doing Good

Kairos Time – Doing Good

Kairos Time – Doing Good

KAIROS: (Greek, kahee-ros); an ancient Greek term for “time” that has been defined and described in many ways. New Testament Kairos means time, the right time, not just any time. The other Greek word for time is chronos, which is simply the linear measurement of time, as in the word chronology. Chronos has to do with quantity of time, while Kairos has to do with quality of time. Chronos refers to the sheer presence of time, but Kairos refers to the presence of timeliness. One can see different aspects of the effects of Kairos time depending on the situation. There are three angles of Kairos as we look at “kairos time” in the New Testament:

  1. Kairos means a timely opportunity; the fitting time for action; the right time to get involved; the proper time to act or decide something; a moment whose time has come; a time to respond because things have come to a head (kairos is related to the Greek word for head, “kara”); a particular time when a crisis has created an opportunity.
  2. Kairos is God-time; the appointed time appointed by God; a sacred time for God to act; the opportune time when the Holy Spirit is moving someone into action; the moment of truth when the Spirit of God is inspiring the right word or action for the occasion; the right, fitting time to accomplish God’s will. One sacred example would be the Judeo-Christian believer honoring the Sabbath as God’s appointed time once a week, which sanctifies the day and enables the believer to experience Kairos time.
  3. Kairos time can be experienced by someone who has lost track of time, who are in a state of mind in which they are not even aware of chronos time but fully enveloped in Kairos time. Examples would be monks during contemplation, artists while sculpting or painting; authors when writing; musicians when composing or performing; children while playing; worshipers while engaged in divine singing; gardeners while working in their gardens. Kairos is when someone loses track of time when in a state of inspiration or concentrated activity. When so inspired, time goes by so fast that they are completely unaware of the passage of time. For those in Kairos time in a peak of creative or inspired activity, chronos time seems irrelevant. (the primary reference: author Madelein L’Engle, from her memoir, Walking on Water).

“Let us not grow weary while doing good (kalos), for in due season (Kairos) we shall reap a harvest if we do not lose heart and give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity (Kairos time), we should do good (agathos) to everyone, starting with the people in the household of faith.” (Galations 6:9-10).

What an amazing and helpful passage! There are three Greek words for “good”: agathos, kalos, and euergeton. And here we have St. Paul using two of these three in this one passage. Let’s break this down a bit…

  1. Agathos: This version of “good” is the inner goodness produced by the Holy Spirit in our hearts as we are transformed by God, and it finds expression in a demonstrated goodness toward others through deed and word. The Lord produces a goodness in each of us who are believers that overflows its banks in us and spills over to others in a way that is of service to them and beneficial to them. Agathos are honorable works of goodness that God offers to others through us for their benefit.
  2. Kalos: This version of “good” is also a demonstrated goodness offered to others, but these good works are observed by others for being attractive, winsome, beautiful, handsome, excellent wonderful. So, while agathos is more of an internal goodness produced by the Spirit, kalos is an external good that is noticed by others for the excellence in their usefulness. Kalos usually impresses its observers in a good way, through its moral beauty attractive goodness. Another example of kalos, besides Galatians 6:9-10, is found in Mark 7:37, “And the people were astonished beyond measure, saying, ‘Everything Jesus does is beautiful!” (kalos).
  3. Euergetson: This version of “good” is only used with the phrase “doing good,” and is rooted in the idea of philanthropy. This Greek word is only used once in the entire New Testament, in Acts 10:38, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good (euergetson), including healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him.” The works of goodness of Jesus was sort of like His work of philanthropy, in which Someone who was rich in goodness generously offered good deeds to others in their need. Jesus generously bestowed beneficial goodness to others from His more-than-ample resources.

Growing in Agathos Goodness:

  1. Worship the Lord. We become what we look at. We are shaped by who we honor, bow down to, love. To worship is to get back to square one, the source of goodness. Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord Almighty… Bigger than the universe; Better than perfect; Older than time; Stronger than energy; Lower than a servant. Holy, holy, holy. There’s God, and there’s everything else. Hosanna in the highest! Heaven and earth is full of His glory and His mercy!
  2. Tap into the Source. Deepen your relationship with God, and remain grafted into Jesus. The fruit of the Spirit will develop in those united with God. “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me. Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me, you can do nothing. When you produce much fruit, you are my true disciples. This brings glory to my Father.” (John 15:4-5,8, NLT).
  3. Inspire the Imagination. Whenever our imagination is captured, the rest of us soon tags along. Starting with stories in scripture, lose yourself in heroic literature and history, in tales of courage and sacrifice, in biographies and drama, in poetry and myth, in truth-centered fiction and the fine arts, such as music, sculpture, paintings, architecture. The desire to be good is a flame that is sparked by an inspired imagination.
  4. Learn the Vocabulary. Goodness has been defined, described, unpacked in helpful ways by the Christian Church. So it helps to be familiar with the classic virtues and vices, because the right words help us to know what we’re thinking and talking about. The Theological Virtues of faith, hope and love; the Cardinal Virtues of courage, wisdom, justice and moderation; the Seven Deadly Sins of pride, greed, anger, envy, sloth, lust and gluttony. But don’t get stuck there. Passing the vocabulary test doesn’t make us good.
  5. Practice, Practice, Practice. Regardless of the skill we’re trying to develop… a sport, an art form, a habit of goodness. The fundamentals need to be rehearsed, practiced, repeated, until the conscious decision becomes unconscious, the deliberate act becomes second nature. One might call this the muscle memory of the heart. To do our part is to be cooperating with God, even if we don’t feel like it. Especiallywhen we don’t feel like it.
  6. Confess the Wrongdoings. As God continues to transform each of us from a sow’s ear to a silk purse (F. Buechner), we will have weak moments galore. Have as much grace with each other and ourselves as God does with us. Be humble enough to admit our stumblings, confess them to the Father, learn from them, and move on. Renewing our innocence daily will go far in keeping our mistakes from becoming a pattern.
  7. Surrender Daily. When you roll out of bed each morning, come out with your hands up. As we wave the white flag to God’s goodness, we will gradually move from a self-centered to a God-centered life. Submit to Baptism, Communion, discipleship; to inward spiritual disciplines like prayer, fasting, study; to outward spiritual disciplines like solitude, simplicity, service; to community spiritual disciplines like worship, confession, guidance, celebration; to a lifestyle of physical and spiritual works of mercy and justice. Hands up. Wave the flag. Blessed are those who surrender to God’s goodness.
  8. Love has the Last Word. Remember that Love is the definitive fruit of the Spirit. Love is the essence of God’s goodness. “Over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.” (Colossians 3:14).

Kalos, the Beauty of Goodness. People are naturally attracted to those who make the world a better place. People are intrigued by those who simply want to treat others well and help others flourish. People admire those who can be trusted to do the right thing, who are consistently kind and just. A person filled with love is the strongest magnet to attract others. Compassion naturally draws others into its influence. When people are not receiving mercy in life, they seek out a merciful person. When people suspect they are living a tainted life, in their hearts they seek out someone who is leading more of a pure life, a holy life, for some moral direction. Genuine purity tends to get people’s attention, depending on how it’s displayed. Goodness is a secret goal in most people’s lives. We may not know it, but we all have a secret yearning for true goodness. Most of us want to be known as a good person. We all have the breath of God in us, and we have inhaled the fresh aroma of goodness, and we want more. We are drawn to those who have authentic goodness, who are not hypocritical, who do not compromise. We look up to those who have a healthy moral authority. Jesus had an attractive goodness, and it was communicated loud and clear in the way He lived His life. His goodness was obvious and couldn’t be argued in an honest conversation. The beauty of His holiness revealed a goodness that pulled others toward Him. Here is a man, they thought, who is living the way we were all meant to live, the way I want to live. He didn’t obey the pull of power and applause. And look how He fleshed out His goodness… through the fruit of the Spirit with such qualities as love, joy, peace, patience, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5). As Christians we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to live in a way that makes goodness attractive. Our robe of pure righteousness must be seen somehow as a necessary part of everyone’s wardrobe.

Galatians 6:9-10: In Other Words“Let us not grow tired of doing good (kalos), of living the right way in our well-doing. For at just the right time, the God-appointed (kairos) time, we shall reap a harvest of blessing, as long as we don’t give up, get discouraged, or faint from fatigue. So every time (Kairos) we get the chance, when opportunities present themselves, we should offer works of goodness to others in service to them in a way that would be beneficial and useful. The inherent goodness that our good God pours into us should spill over to others so they can experience God’s goodness as well. Remember the needs of your brothers and sisters first, and then of course as opportunities arise, demonstrate God’s goodness to everyone you meet.”

 From Good to Perfect. “You, therefore, must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)

How did Jesus decide to sum up His section of the Sermon on the Mount concerning the intended meanings of the Torah? He said to be “perfect.” That’s a tall order, isn’t it? In other words, impossible. Some scholars claim that Jesus is implying the Law as stated in Leviticus 19:2: “Be holy because I am holy.” Others claim that Jesus is referring to Deuteronomy 18:13, in which Yahweh said, “You shall be perfect, or blameless, before the Lord your God.” Perhaps Peter was trying to combine the two commands when he wrote, “As He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, in everything you do, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15).

Jesus knows of course that we are made of dust and have inherited a sinful gene from Adam. None of us are perfect by any stretch of the imagination. None of us are sinless. Nonetheless, Jesus expects a lot of His followers. Extended adolescence is unacceptable. He wants us to grow up rather quickly in how we conduct ourselves. While seeing that we are on the road to complete maturity, it’s common sense to accept that perfection in our case is a process. It is not a process with God. He never had to mature, to grow up, to develop into perfection. He is an eternally perfect God, moral perfection as is, forever. The Greek word for “perfect,” is teleios, and it means whole, complete, fully developed, attained the goal, mature. But with His statement here, Jesus compares us to the perfection of the Lord God. So in this context, “perfect” means much more than mature. So one could say that perfect in this statement of Jesus means: well-formed moral character; a basic attitude of mercy and lovingkindness; well-rounded in integrity; behavior that is appropriate for higher maturity levels; full of holiness; lacking nothing in godliness; reached the proper height of virtue; living out one’s God-created identity as a child of God; setting no bounds to your love, just as your heavenly Father sets no bounds to His love.

The parallel summary statement in His Sermon on the Plain in Luke is fascinating. Jesus wrapped up His section in that Sermon with, “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” (Luke 6:36). Jesus seems to be equating “perfect” with “merciful.” Maybe that gets to the heart of the matter. The following “Works of Mercy” are based on Jesus’ parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew, and are a good place to start when thinking about how to go about “doing good.”

  1. Feed the hungry;
  2. Give water to the thirsty;
  3. Shelter the stranger;
  4. Clothe the naked;
  5. Comfort the sick;
  6. Visit the Prisoner.

But can we be as perfect as our Father in heaven or as our Saviour Jesus on earth?

If we perform one merciful act, we in that instance are perfectly reflecting a perfect God. The more merciful we are, the more we are reflecting God’s perfection. Perfect isn’t being sinless. It is being perfectly merciful, one act at a time.

James seems to understand that human perfection is a process when he writes, “When your faith is tested it stirs up God’s power within you to endure all things. And then as your endurance grows even stronger it will release perfection into every part of your being until there is nothing missing and nothing lacking.” (James 1:3-4, the Passion translation). The RSV translation puts it in simpler terms, “The testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” There’s that word “perfect” again. It seems we are in the process of becoming perfect as we face trials and as we let steadfastness have its way in us. In the meantime, we are perfect in a limited way as we move forward. We have moments of perfection. We ask the Lord to extend those moments until the day when we truly reflect our heavenly Father in His full perfection. The glorious fact is that we remain His children even during the process.

Final Thought on Goodness. “Though Christianity seems at first to be all about morality, all about duties and rules and guilt and virtue, yet it leads you on, out of all that into something beyond. One has a glimpse of a country where they do not talk of those things; everyone there is filled full with what we should call goodness as a mirror is filled with light. But they do not call it goodness. They do not call it anything. They are not thinking of it. They are too busy looking at the source from which it comes.” (C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity).