One of our neighbors died last week—he’d been ill for months and in pain. I wrote about buying a gift certificate for his retirement in this post from October 2014.  When a customer at the local bistro remarked about my generosity, and I said:

“A man in our neighborhood is having a retirement party, and I know he and his wife like to eat here and purchase wine.”

This was what I wished I’d said:

“A worthy and deserving man in our neighborhood is retiring. He gives us the most valuable thing he has: time. All I’m really giving him is money, and money is just money.”


Recently, I revisited my priorities in order to address this issue of time versus money. Something had been bothering me. More accurately, I’d been neglecting a responsibility more than usual, and it showed. Before I decided how to manage the problem, I wanted to be sure my time and money still matched our values: God, Family and Home, Work.

DaylilyJune2019Since Keith and I moved to Vanaprastha, I’ve increased my God time: morning devotional, afternoon walks, Bible study, and church community. Family responsibilities decreased after our children left home, though household management didn’t change much—finances, house, yard. Regular readers know how much I enjoy puttering around outside—note the daylily in bloom. As for work, instead of teaching, I spend time reading and writing—my work mission.

But, as of today, I take on an additional mission. The good man who died last week was our neighborhood association’s longtime secretary/treasurer. I volunteered to take his place.

Initially, I thought about weaving the new responsibility into my schedule. But, like closet space, there’s only so much time in a day. Something had to give.

God time? Family? Household? Work?

The choice was obvious—that niggling thing I’d been neglecting. I hired a housecleaning service. Money is just money, and in this case, it would buy valuable time.


This morning after devotional, I pulled weeds, fed the dogs, started the laundry, then met the head of our neighborhood road committee at the bank, to get my signature on the association’s bank account. As I was writing this post, the cleaning service came to give me an estimate—they’re coming tomorrow. Later this afternoon, I’ll pack the food I cooked for this evening’s Bible study and drive to church.

Revisiting priorities. Accommodating change.

Until, like our neighbor, my time is up.


  1. vonettayoung

    I’m sorry for your loss, Carole, but what a wonderful way to carry on his legacy, by playing an even bigger role in your community.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you, Vonetta. We are so grateful for his twenty years of service and miss him.

      Trust all is well with you and your writing! -C.D.

  2. barefootlilylady

    I admire your careful examination of your priorities and love the shift you made to be able to add this new level of responsibility within your neighborhood association. I also took note of your intentionally keeping God first in your priorities and your day.

    Please keep writing! It blesses, challenges and encourages me.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you for your comment—and your encouragement. -C.D.

  3. Gary Fultz

    Being a poor spectator, You have raised the bar on the up-keep of my own priotities, Thanks Carole.

    • Carole Duff

      So glad you found this post useful. Thank you for your comment. -C.D.

  4. bigskybuckeye

    As we mature in life’s journey, our priorities change. As you have witnessed Carole, many of us find more time to spend with our Lord in reading, studying, prayer, life groups, and volunteer opportunities.

  5. seekingdivineperspective

    Priorities are SO important, especially when we are pulled in all directions. I once heard a wise woman say that we should prioritize the things that no one else can do. For example, “You can hire someone to clean your house, but you can’t hire someone to be a mother to your children or a wife to your husband.” That was decades ago, but I’ve never forgotten the wisdom of that statement. (Besides, professional cleaning services want business, so it’s a win-win.)
    My house will never be on the cover of Good Housekeeping, but my husband, children, and grandchildren are happy, and they love me. (I’m still pulled in a lot of directions!)

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you so much for your comment—and shared wisdom. -C.D.

  6. Susanne

    How fortunate you have money to buy time. As I age, I reshift priorities, too, one of them being letting go of other’s perceptions of how I spend my time. How interesting the words in those 2 sentences, eh? Time = money. Makes me wonder how people functioned before the monetary system. Did Time have a different meaning?

    • Carole Duff

      Interesting question. Even before there was a system of monetary exchange (minted coins date from the 6th or 5th century BC), people were buying time with “money” through trade and barter. Very few were self-sufficient. So, I don’t think the function of “money” was different compared to today, or the meaning of time. Perhaps people better understood that although we’re asked to give our first fruits, God values time and wants us to use it wisely.

    • Carole Duff

      Thank you so much – and see you soon! -C.D.


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