Friday, June 20, 2008
“I’d like to, but I’m just too busy. . . .”
Life is like a smorgasbord: so many activities to pick from, many look too good to pass up. My plate fills up so quickly and time, like my tummy, has a way of getting stuffed before the plate is empty. It takes careful planning to finish the choices before the end of each day. Even with the best of scheduling, interruptions or health problems or a host of other things can leave me with a pile of “leftovers.”
Sometimes I chide myself with the fact I have just as many hours as the President of the United States . . . and look at all he accomplishes. But my husband brings me back to earth with, “You have the same hours, dear, but not the same staff!”
Because we are made in the image of God and because we function best when living like it, some of the best secrets of time management are found by looking at His use of time. Aside from the fact that He created and controls it, He also stepped into it, in the person of Jesus Christ. We have a record of only three years of His life, yet in that three years, He made an impact on the world that no man has made before or since. I’m sure His use of time had something to do with it.
Before anyone protests “but He is God . . . ,” He was also fully human. He became tired, thirsty and hungry, just as we do. Not only that, His days only had twenty-four hours - just the same as ours.
A GOOD START: Perhaps the greatest secret of His time management was that Jesus “rose up before it was yet morning, to pray.”
The older I get the less I enjoy the ringing of my alarm clock. However, Jesus knew that the strength received from His heavenly Father would outlast any benefits of extra time snoozing. Isaiah 40 says “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength” not “they that sleep as much as possible . . . ”
NO PROCRASTINATION: The Gospel of Mark uses the word “immediately” over and over as it describes Christ in action. He was not a procrastinator. He never made excuses, stalled, or hesitated in uncertainty. He did not put off until tomorrow what could and should be done right now.
Time management specialists confirm this principle. Number your priorities and then do them, one after the other, preferable the most difficult first, eliminating not only the chore but the stress of even thinking about it.
TRUST THE FATHER WITH INTERRUPTIONS: Jesus also saw interruptions as heaven-sent and was not flustered by them. Instead, He responded as if they were on His list from the beginning.
This is where I often falter. My tendency is to let the interruption ruin my attitude and even my day’s work. Realizing God sovereignly controls my life has helped me be more polite to door-to-door salesmen and telephone survey-takers.
PURPOSEFUL R AND R: Jesus was not lazy but He did take time to rest. “Jesus, being wearied from His journey, sat by the well” (John 4).
Laziness is resting because I don’t want to work. Recreation is resting because if I don’t rest I won’t have the energy to work. Taking time to be refueled is not necessarily selfish indulgence. Jesus even used His resting time to reach out to others.
JOB SELECTION: Jesus did not accept any task outside of His Father’s will. His early morning time alone was not wasted time. When He began His day, He knew where to go, what to do, and what was important for eternity. He kept His focus on the priorities laid down for Him.
What a waste to spend a day (or a whole life) on things that have no eternal value. But for those who belong to Him, Christ makes every minute count. After all, unlike the vast assortment of choices there are to fill it, a minute of time leaves no leftovers. Used wisely or wasted, when it is over, it is gone forever.
© Elsie Montgomery
I wrote this about fifteen years ago while in college—as a grandmother—and where I really needed to practice what I preached!