In this day and age, we all seem to be very busy. There is so much to do and so little time. We are constantly running, overworked, overstressed, and overtired. As a result, we get weak physically, mentally and spiritually. This is a problem because when we are weak we are more susceptible to falling and being snared by the Enemy, which is exactly what he wants.
We have known from the beginning that the devil is crafty and has many tricks up his sleeve. He can come into our lives undetected. His goal is to separate us from God and he will try anything to attain it. My last post, called “Satan’s Meeting (read even if you are busy)”, makes a good point on how being overly busy can be one of Satan’s tricks to draw us away from our source of power – God.
There is no doubt that life has gotten more and more hectic. There is so much on our “to-do” list. It is easy to get caught-up on the cares of this world and have our spiritual growth stunted. Thankfully, our father in Heaven is always looking out for us and guiding us in the way we should go so that we can minimize chaos in our lives. I thought it a good idea to look at what God’s Word says with respect to time management so that we can maintain sanity, productivity, and spirituality.
Sometimes we spend a lot of time doing things that are not really very important. We get caught up in the “thick of thin things”. As a result, we do a lot of work but are not very productive because the really important things don’t get done. So, we must prioritize and do those things of higher importance FIRST. One of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is to “Put first things first”. In the words of Stephen Covey, “things which matter most, must never be at the mercy of things which matter least”. That is, your time with your family should not depend on your time with your friends, for instance. Even though your friends are important, they are not more important than your family.
In Matthew 6:33, Jesus commands us to seek FIRST the kingdom of God and that everything else will follow. It is good to remember that God is the source of everything! Putting Him first is an investment with tremendous dividends! History has taught us that when we put God first, everything else tends to go smoothly. He is the Creator and sustainer of everything. Nothing happens if He does not will it. Good examples of this are Joseph (Gen 39:2, 21) and Joshua (Josh 1:5, 8).
Some of us have a lot on our plate. Either because we are control freaks and want to do everything ourselves or because everything gets handed to us or because there’s nobody else to do it.
In a sense, humans are like computers. The more data in a computer and the more programs it is running at once, the slower it is. And, at some point, if there’s TOO much going on at once, the computer crashes! The same thing happens with us. If we have too much on our plate, the slower we are and the less productive we become.
A good way to take things off our plate is by delegation. In Exodus 18:13-23, God gives us a good example of delegation. Jethro, Moses’ father-in-law, exhorts Moses to select trustworthy men to train and delegate some of his work to. Otherwise, he would wear out quickly with the load he was carrying! How useful can we be to God, or anybody, if we are worn out? Not very.
God has given us limits. Our flesh has limits and we need to know what those limits are so we can manage our workload accordingly and optimize our effectiveness.
Some of us like to please people (I am one of them). We like to be of assistance whenever possible, especially to our loved ones. Some of us are not very skilled at saying “No” and as a result we end up with our plates more than full. We need to set limits on ourselves as far as how much to bear at once. Trying to do too much slows us down and is counterproductive!
A good example of setting limits and saying “No” is in Matthew 25 in the Parable of the 10 Virgins. As we know, the 5 foolish virgins slacked off and didn’t get enough oil for their lamps. The wise ones, on the other hand, had bought extra oil and were prepared to meet the bridegroom. The foolish ones realized they didn’t have enough oil and so asked the others for some. They responded plainly, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you” (v 9).
Were the wise women being mean? Were they selfish for not sharing their oil? Would it have been more “Christian” of them to give them some oil and risk not being ready for the groom?
Sometimes we think we may be helping someone when we are actually crippling them. We don’t need to bear others’ burdens when they are perfectly capable of bearing it themselves. Doing so is detrimental to us and them! They need to learn to take responsibility for themselves and we need to carry our own load, which is heavy enough already. So, don’t feel guilty about saying “No” sometimes. It may be the WISE thing to do.
Sometimes we can be one-track-minded. We either think it’s all about church, or it’s all about work, or it’s all about the kids, or it’s all about school, or it’s all about the house, or it’s all about partying, etc, etc. We overdo things in one area and neglect others.
We humans are multi-dimensional. We need to take care of the physical, the spiritual, the social, the emotional, and the intellectual dimensions. We need to have a balance of all these to function well.
We need to make time for work, for church, for Bible study, for husband, for kids, for family and friends, for reading, for eating, for exercise, for talking, etc. It’s not all about ONE thing. The Preacher says in Ecclesiastes 3:1 that there is a time for everything under the sun. Even in Ecclesiastes 7:16-18, he exhorts us to avoid over-doing things. We need balance in every aspect of our lives.
Something we neglect to do a lot is to stop and rest. And, this is because we don’t think it is important.
We all know from the beginning that God created the Heavens and the Earth and everything that is in it in 6 days. What did He do on the 7th day? He rested! And, He made the seventh day holy and commanded His people to keep it and not do any work on it (Gen 2:1-2, Ex 23:12, 34:21). Why did He do this (Ex 23:12)? Is rest important to God? I think so.
The Bible talks a lot about rest and it is a topic that deserves its own study. However, in the context of time management, we can say that rest helps us perform better by refreshing our mind, body, and Spirit.
Jesus is our rest (Matthew 11:28-30). The closer we are to Him, the clearer and the easier things get. Being close to Him also helps us be productive because He guides us the whole way through. Do not forget to rest in Jesus. It will save you tons and tons of time!