The “now time” in the Bible is God’s time. It is the right moment and it is “pregnant with Messianic possibilities”. It was the right time according to Paul for the Corinthians to do what they promised and raise money for the poor in Jerusalem. (2 Corinthians 8) Jesus enters the village of Nain and surprise; just at that time a funeral procession was coming out. (Luke 7) “At just the right time God sent His son, born of a women, born under the law to redeem those who were under the Law”, Galatians 4:4. “At just the right time, while we were still helpless, Christ died for us” , Romans 5:6. God doesn’t wait for us to build our capacity. He doesn’t do a study to see if we are capable of going it on our own. He sends a Savior.
God’s gives us these moments too. Our time is in His hand and he lays possibilities before us that are, as Matthew Harrison says “what we are baptized for”.
The debate rages again as to whether we should do high value mercy work anywhere in the world because it builds “dependency”. Paul never mentions dependency in 2 Corinthians 8. He talks about fairness or equality. I don’t want to contemplate the racist implications of the “creation of dependency” or the obvious sinful background that believes that money spent on the poor is money we could spend for something we want. I just want to think about God’s time and ask a question. Let’s say that the little child in the picture is either trying to close the gate to keep something bad out, or trying to open the gate to get away from some kind of prison. What would be the right time for me to help? Should I as a matter of course say, “she needs to develop on her own and close of open the gate herself, because for me to help might make her dependent”? Should I ask “why should I open or close the gate – she might want to go in our out again anyway”. How much theological and sociological debate do I need to go through right now, in the “now time” when I see this child. Like the scribe and the Pharisee that saw the man beaten and bloody lying on the road to Jericho I can make all kinds of excuses that this is not the right time. Like the Samaritan I would hope that we stop thinking of our time and think of God’s time and what our action in the “now time” would mean to this baby.