The Woman Who Sold Time

by | Jan 9, 2022 | God's Hands, Helping, Priorities, Time

“Besides this, you know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we became believers; the night is far gone, the day is near. Let us then lay aside the works of darkness and put on the armor of light; let us live honourably as in the day.” (Romans 13:11-13a NRSV)

I was fascinated when I heard the story of Ruth Belville. She inherited a family business that had been started by her father in 1836 — selling time! In those days in London, anyone who wanted to know the exact time had few options that were accurate enough to make schedules for trains and other time-sensitive endeavours. For more than forty years, Ruth Belville made the early morning journey from the Royal Observatory where Greenwich Mean Time was accurately kept, to as many as 200 clients around the city, using a pocket chronometer nicknamed “Arnold”. Subscribers paid for her services even as clocks became more accurate over the years. She gave up her business in 1940 with the war raging. Her “time” ran out three years later at the age of 89.

Time really is one of our most costly gifts. We can waste it. We can worry over it. We can kill time. We can spend it on ourselves, but we cannot buy or sell it. As good stewards, we can invest it in a life well lived for the love of God and others! “You know what time it is, how it is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” You have time the rest of this day and this week and this year to do the works of light — the tasks that God will give you.

Prayer: Christ, You see who I am. You are familiar with the human condition. I do not want to hide anything in my heart from You. You know that I am sometimes pulled in different directions at the same time, drawn by “the works of darkness”, and yet, I know myself to be a child of the light. May I use my time this day to discern and do Your will through You, Jesus Christ, my Lord. Amen.

Kenn Stright
West Petpeswick, Nova Scotia, Canada

Reprinted from the PresbyCan Daily Devotional with the author’s permission


The Woman Who Sold Time