By GJ Frye
It can be seen in the man working adamantly for as many hours as his body allows, by the suit-wearing executive speed walking down the street, or by the passenger of a cab trying to get to his destination as soon as possible: Time is money.
This simple analogy is taken to elaborate lengths in the film, “In Time,” using the talents of Justin Timberlake as a young man named Will Salas. Salas lives in a world where every person’s biological clock is embedded into his or her arm. After someone reaches age 25, the countdown begins.
In this futuristic sci-fi flick, time is the new currency and can be traded through a simple embrace of the forearm or with specialized machines. It is a constant battle against the clock to make the most of time to continue to live. This brings to mind obvious questions: Do people, particularly Christians, make the most of their time? Are the material products we buy really worth the time spent to afford them?
In the film, there are different “time zones” split up by how wealthy the inhabitants are. Salas lives in what appears to be the poorest zone. He lives day-by-day, unsure if he will have enough time to keep himself and his mother alive. Each day truly has enough worries of its own, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:34.
The concept of the zones draws upon the idea that in current times, a wealthy few has an abundance of resources which the rest of the world lacks.
Take food as an example. According to Worldhunger.org, “The world produces enough [food] to provide 2,720 [Calories] per person per day.”
So there is enough food produced. People do not receive the amount they need because they do not have the sufficient resources, like money or time, to obtain the nutrition to survive.
Mother Theresa once said, “If you can’t feed a thousand people, then just feed one.” Jesus himself emphasized the importance of the individual multiple times. Whatever we do for the least of these, regardless of social status, we still do for Him. Perhaps the least of these could even refer to least amount possible: one. Salas follows this example by acting as a Robin Hood figure. He upsets the system by giving as much time to those in need as he can, keeping just enough for him to survive.
Not only do people face physical hunger today, but spiritual hunger as well. “In Time” speaks great truth about what it means to be alive. Salas’ partner in crime, Sylvia Weis, has a need to do something foolish – something to make her feel alive – because when she has more than enough time on her clock, the only thing to keep her from living forever is a simple mistake.
We are told as Christians to not worry about the future. The Bible says our Father will provide for us as we stay faithful, even if our faith takes us into dangerous situations like missions in certain foreign countries or financial struggle.
Steve Jobs believed people should “stay hungry” and “stay foolish.” Though it is not Christian by nature, his theory contains truth we can learn from.
This idea is highlighted in the film through the character Salas, who is always taking risks where the time he has left alive is concerned and never has enough time to be fully satisfied to stay where he’s at, but to always be moving forward.
Imagine if this world ran on a literal countdown. Would Christians constantly give away their time and live each breath like it was their last? Or would they hoard their time and continue to procrastinate, spending resources selfishly instead of on the least of these.
If the time someone had left were displayed on their arm, would you care more about them than you do now?