Treasures New and Old
Elkmont Baptist Church
Question asked: "I'm so busy, I don't have time to (name the activity), but I know I should. What can I do?"
Redeeming the Time
May God bless you all!
This has got to be one of the hardest struggles for the modern Christian who really wants to follow the Lord. There are so many voices out there demanding your time, money, and commitment, not to mention the ones that are internal to your family. To make the situation worse, some very good things and activities have expanded their demands upon us so that they (once very manageable) are now squeezing out other important things in our lives (school-sponsored sports used to treat Sundays as "hands-off" but now in many places encroach even on Sundays). Another problem is often the "urgent" demands immediate attention and takes away valuable time and effort from the "important." What can I do? Is a good time management course needed?
Ephesians 5:13-17 says:
Let's summarize this section of Scripture: (1) Everything I do will be revealed as good or bad as well as its eternal effects; (2) Many of us are spiritually asleep and look like the dead (read that "you are no different than the world and the lost"). God is calling us to be spiritually awake and able to respond to His call; (3) We are to get our "light" (directions, insights, assignments, calling, power) from our Head - the Lord Jesus Christ; (4) Live our lives carefully - not just letting anything into our homes, family, and lives. Be wise about what you choose to expose yourself to and do; (5) Redeem the time. Remove those activities that are eating valuable time and keeping you from doing eternal things; (6) Remember that the days are evil - the world will try and sidetrack you with all its finery - its good stuff. My real area of struggle is here - trying to discern the "good" from "God's best"; Finally, (7) Understand what the will of the Lord is for you - go daily to the Lord for your marching orders.
I believe the hardest thing for all of us to do is reject good and better things in favor of God's best. Why? Because many of the good and better things are things we enjoy; we get pleasure from them, even material and physical benefits. Many of these things are not bad, which is why they are so hard to put down. They are not evil in and of themselves. Bottom line - where are your priorities?
When we set priorites at the activity level (simple time management) - we miss the greater goals - we are running the wrong race. The priorities we ought to strive for are based on God's principles, and if they are, the activities will often sort themselves out. Some examples: I want to raise Godly children. I want to have a spiritually cleansed home. I want a close walk with the Lord. I want to have a Godly, Biblically-based marriage. May I suggest that we all try to find no more than seven of these high-level, high-priority, principal-based goals for ourselves and our families (we can remember seven easily enough). Pray about what they should be and ask God clear direction in writing them down. Now every time an activity or demand presents itself, ask - does this activity support my God-directed goals? If not, say "no!"
Before I close on this subject, I know that we all face physical, family, work, government, and church related demands. Kids must be schooled. Taxes must be paid. Job requirements must be met (or we don't eat!), meals cooked, houses cleaned, cars maintained, health protected, etc. But God already knows this, and if we find ourselves too busy for God or for meeting God-directed goals - then we have accepted activities into our lives He didn't intend for us to be involved in.
I told you this was hard . . . but through Christ - I can do all things!
Time management will not help if we are doing either of two things: (1) Chasing after things we like to do to the neglect of things we need to do, or (2) having difficulty saying "no" to an activity - no matter how good it may seem if we are already fully committed. What we all need is a spiritual understanding of priorities that center around eternal outcomes and benefits. For this, only daily instructions from the Lord Jesus will help provide direction.
But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light. Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord