Article by Waylon Willoughby
I don’t have time…
We hear it all the time, there aren’t enough hours in the day. Whether it’s working late at the office, chauffeuring the kids to and from practice, or volunteering at church there are countless seemingly important things vying for our time. And let’s be honest, being busy makes us feel important. We all like that little feeling we get when we brag to others about how busy we are. I would contend that we don’t have to be as busy as we choose to be.
Let’s start with how we view time.
- God owns everything about us including our time. We are told in 1 Corinthians 6: 19
“19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own”
We are called to be faithful stewards of everything God has entrusted to us. This includes our health, our finances, relationships, and our time.
- If we are going to manage or steward God’s time we need to understand what His will is.
i.e. We need to know how He wants us to prioritize
5 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise,16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
- God gives us limited time on earth.
Let’s look at a familiar passage from James 4:
13 Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”—14 yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15 Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. 17 So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.
In Verse 13 James seems to describe the undisciplined culture of business that we live out every day, but as he points out in verse 14, this is us living by our own will. And we don’t even have a clue what is going to happen tomorrow! Our time on earth is so short compared to eternity that he describes it as a mist—imagine that awesome, short-lived puff you see when the cool kid in class is vaping. Instead, James tells us to seek God’s will and do that. So don’t boast about how busy you are doing your own will. Find out what God’s priorities are and make them yours.
How do we know God’s priorities for our time?
- Ask God for wisdom
James 1:5 says this:
5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.
Seems easy enough.
- Get a long term perspective.
Psalm 90:12 says:
12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom
The more long term your perspective is the better your short term decisions will be. Take finances for example. If my vision for my finances is that 30 years from now I want to retire with enough money to live comfortably and meet any and every need God shows me that is going to affect the decisions I make today. I am probably going to think twice before I impulse by a new TV or before I borrow money to buy a boat. The same is true with every area of our lives. The more clear your long term vision is the better you will prioritize today.
How much time do you spend focusing on who you are becoming versus what you are doing?
So what are some practical ways we can prioritize our time better?
- Be crystal clear on your vision and priorities. Which is more important—job or family? Monday Night Football or meeting with a disciple?
- Say no to a good opportunity this week. Author Jon Acuff says, “Be quick with your no’s and slow with your yeses.” Check out his post on how to say no: http://acuff.me/just-say-no/
- Schedule rest. It may seem counterintuitive but you will be much more productive when you are well rested. God set the example for us when he rested after creating everything that exists. My rule of thumb is rest an hour a day, a day a week, a week a quarter.
To summarize: God has given us a limited amount of time to steward. Let’s do it well!