How to Feel Time-Affluent, Not Time-Constrained

by Bethany

Highlighted Text: Matthew 16:24-25
M’Cheyne Text: Genesis 16; Matthew 16

Study: Wharton Professor Cassie Mogilner argues that spending time helping others leaves people feeling time-affluent, not time-constrained. She and her research colleagues asked certain subjects to do something for someone else — e.g., write a note to a sick child or edit an essay of an at-risk high schooler — and other subjects to do something for themselves — e.g., an activity of their choice or an exit from the lab early. Paradoxically, those who gave their time to others were more likely to describe their futures as “infinite”. They felt as if they had more time, not less.

Paradox: Why the paradox? Mogilner explains, “We thought it might be the social connection, the meaning or the enjoyment associated with helping others … But the explanation that emerged in our results is that people who give time feel more capable, confident and useful. They feel they’ve accomplished something and, therefore, that they can accomplish more in the future. And this self-efficacy makes them feel that time is more expansive” [1].

Paradoxes: The world tells us to gain time by spending time on ourselves, watching television or doing nothing. In the end, ironically, we often feel less fulfilled and more time constrained. Jesus, however, calls us to be our truer selves by laying down our selfishness and following him: “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it” [2]. We save ourselves by losing ourselves because, in losing ourselves, our hearts are responding to the design of their Maker, who calls us to give ourselves away for the sake of his great name.

Prayer: Lord, You made us to find our joy in your commands, especially the commands to love you and others. Yet we confess that we have loved ourselves. Forgive us. May our hearts ignore the wisdom of this world that tells us to find time affluence in selfishness. Instead, root us in your word that teaches us to deny ourselves, take up our crosses and follow you. Show us that, when we give ourselves away, we become our truer selves and feel more accomplished, capable, confident and useful. If we live this truth out, what an attractive witness we can be in our busy culture! Amen.



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Audio: Bible Listening 

Genesis 16 (2:26 minutes) – here

Matthew 16 (3:53 minutes) – here



[1] Cassie Mogilner. “You’ll Feel Less Rushed If You Give Your Time Away.” Harvard Business Review. September 2012.  |  [2] Matthew 16:24-25 ESV

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