How many of you, at any one moment this past week stopped and said to yourself or to someone else, "o Man I need more time" or "œthere's never enough hours in the day"?
Well I have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that this morning (or more than likely last night before you went to bed) most of you remembered to roll the clock back one hour which means you get twenty five hours today. The bad news is, yesterday was in fact shorter than usual because an hour had to be borrowed from it to pay for today. Saturday was only twenty-three hours long.
It seems the old adage is true: " you can't make time, you can only spend it." Time management guru David Allen wisely notes that time cannot be managed the way money can. You can save money or spend money. But not so with time. Time is completely linear and completely equalized for everyone. Every second that comes our way also goes away and we can never get it back. We all have the same 24 hours a day to work with. That means one of two things: we can spend the time we have wisely or we can spend it poorly.
Considering the choices, in my mind it's not that hard to at least say, " I want to spend my time wisely." So let's ask the question this morning: What then does God's word have to say about time management? Or better stated, what is time management from a Biblical perspective?
I submit to you this morning that time well spent from God's perspective requires, right priorities, proper perspective, and a definite purpose.
So that we do not waste any time, let's get started: Time well spent is not about managing time, it is about managing priorities.
People who spend their time well are people who pick the right priorities in life.
The parable of the rich fool is a great example of a guy with the wrong priorities. (Luke 12:16-23).
What are your priorities?
You say, well my first priority is my family. Ok, how much time are you spending with them? If your priority is to know God better, how much of his word have you read this week? If your priority is work, why are you taking days off?
Ask yourself the question, does what I do on a daily basis line up with what I say my priorities are? If not than you're not being honest about your true priorities. You need to either redefine your priorities to where they should be, or redefine your life to line up with your priorities.
What did Jesus say about priorities? If you don't love me more than you love your families and even your own life, you're not worthy to be my disciple. (Luke 14:26)
Those are pretty strong words are they not? It makes me want to know the answer to the question: are my priorities in Godly order? Are yours?
Godly priorities mean putting God first above all things. Then it means putting God in all things that you do. It's repeated throughout the scriptures:
1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
Colossians 3:17 Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.
Colossians 3:23-24 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.
Try to sit down for a time and make a list of what your priorities really are. Then prayerfully put God at the top of that list and work your way through the list asking God to help you realign your priorities to match his.
It's not just having the right priorities, it's about having the right perspective.
When a child enters a room full of adults at a party, what do they see? They see kneecaps and shoes. But are kneecaps and shoes all there is? Aren't those just evidences that should be telling them there are people way up there? But their perspective gives them a skewed view of reality.
Psalm number 90 was written by Moses, and it wraps itself up in desiring a proper perspective. Listen to the whole Psalm. (Read Psalm 90)
Now pay special attention to Psalm 90:10-12
" As for the days of our life, they contain seventy years, Or if due to strength, eighty years, Yet their pride is but labor and sorrow; For soon it is gone and we fly away. Who understands the power of Your anger and Your fury, according to the fear that is due You? So teach us to number our days, That we may present to You a heart of wisdom. "
What's he praying for? He's asking for God to give him and us a proper perspective on who God is. More than that even, he's asking for a proper perspective on the length of our lives. Why does he ask that? Because Moses understands that when we get a grip on the brevity of life and the breadth of eternity our reaction will be one that properly centers on things that really matter.
We walk into life and looking around we see the bills that must get paid and the dinners that need cooked, the kids that need washed and the jobs that must get worked, and like the kid at the party all we see are those kneecaps and shoes and we get so caught up trying not to get stepped on that we miss what really matters.
You've got to work, you've got to sleep, you've got to do laundry, and mow the yard and a hundred other " things" need to be done "“ but in the midst of living life don't get so caught up in what you can see that you miss the true reality that all these things are going to pass away and all that will be left is God.
But because work is a gift from God, it's possible to serve God in your work. Because rest is a gift from God, it's possible to honor God in your recreation. Because God has provided the clothing and the food, even laundry and dishes can be tools with which we serve Him.
Some day, you're time on earth is going to end and you will stand before the Almighty's throne. What will you present God with? A life lived with God in His proper perspective will be a life lived without wasted time, rather you will wisely invest the time you have been given.
A Biblical concept of time management starts with godly priorities, requires that you keep a godly perspective, and that you live with a godly purpose.
If you were to ask the Apostle Paul who sat in Jail what he would do if he were given only one more hour to live he would probably respond as he did in Philippians 1:21-22
" to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me…" Later on, when he knew the executioners sword was meant for him he would be able to look back on a ministry lived in obedience to God and he could say,
" I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing." (2 Timothy 4:6-8 NASB)
Look at what Paul is saying there. He's focused on the future "“ that was his priority. He's not worried about the executioner's sword. He was focused on making the hours count for Christ. But what is your purpose in life? What are you living for?
To be honest, most of the time we're just living for ourselves. But God requires more. Talking about the way everyone else on the planet seems to live, Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
" Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil." (Ephesians 5:15-16)
Are you making the most of the hours granted you? We only have so many. Psalm 139:16 says,
" …all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began." (Psalm 139:16 CSB)
In the end, we all have just twenty-four hours in a day. The question is, what are you doing with them? Are you investing in eternity? Are your priorities where they need to be? What about your perspective? Are you so focused on your next paycheck that you're missing God? What exactly are you living for? What is your purpose in life? Are you here for momentary self gratification? Or are you keeping your eye on a bigger prize? Are you striving towards the reward of Christ?
To spend your time wisely starts with turning your priority, perspective and purpose firmly centered on the person and glory of God. Imagine the eternal value of one hour well spent.