Managing time is the next area we will look at in steps to fulfilling your full potential in Christ. We’ve learned that we need a clean heart and a clear mind, we need to use our God-given gifts and form right, godly relationships, and now this is the one I am dreading…
The next step is to have a Balanced Schedule… Ouch, this is going to hurt me and quite a few of you guys too!
The LORD knows the days of the blameless, and their heritage will remain forever;
TIME FOR A CHANGE
Time is irreversible, it is irreplaceable, and it is God’s gift to you. Life doesn’t come with action replays, or a rewind button. This is your life, this is it, your one shot or doing it right, or blowing it! Managing time wisely is an absolute essential in your becoming all that God wants you to become, and many talented, clean hearted, clear minded people have blown it at this hurdle.
Time is God’s gift to you, and what you do with your time is your gift to Him.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
The Bible teaches that God measures our days, that He has them preordained and knows the time we have allotted. Time is a precious commodity, more precious than money or gold, yet we all squander it day after day, year after year. We need to Managing time better!
How we choose to spend the hours of our days, the days of our weeks and the weeks ahead of our years is vital to us reaching our potential. Squander time, and you throw away your potential. Manage it effectively, and you can become someone great in the Kingdom of God!
THE TIMES, THEY ARE A CHANGING
Bob Dylan sang it, and he was right… times are a changing, as they always have, but these days the pressure on us as human beings is more extreme than ever before. And our society preaches a mantra that is completely foreign to the people of God.
We are told to work hard, earn lots of money and retire to a great superannuation and a great life. I remember a story told about a simple fisherman relaxing in a hammock on the beach. A businessman came to him and told him he should do more work. Why? replied the fisherman. So you can earn money, then you can buy a bigger boat, employ staff, blitz the fish markets, earn more money, drive a bigger car and live in a bigger house. What then? Asked the fisherman.
Then you can expand, have several boats in a fishing fleet, then you can have several fleets, and have them all over the country, earn more money, then one day after 20-30 years, you can retire back to the beach and relax for the rest of your days.
But sir, replied the fisherman, I am already relaxing by the beach!
In Australia, we are told to work hard to earn money to buy things we didn’t know we wanted or needed, then put loads of money away so we can retire and finally, at the age of 67, we can start to enjoy a life of leisure.
This is a crock, because things don’t satisfy, only relationships and in particular serving the Lord bring true fulfilment that will last for eternity. You can be poor and genuinely live a fulfilled, wonderful, satisfying life! And as I have said to many of you here, God doesn’t want you to retire, He wants you to refire!
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
So we need to examine how we walk… Some versions say to walk circumspectly, which means to weigh risks and consequences before taking action. We must also be wise about what we do and, according to that verse, we must make the best use of time, or as the KJV puts it, redeeming the time.
Are you using your time effectively, or are you wasting it, or crowding it out with unnecessary things? Redeeming time means buying it back (as Christ redeems us), and it implies that every second counts!
HANG ON A MINUTE, IS MANAGING TIME THST EASY?
Seconds and minutes count! If you waste them, pretty soon you’re wasting weeks, months and years! Managing time is essential.
In 1965 a testimony before a Senate subcommittee claimed the future looked bright for free time in America. By 1985, predicted the report, Americans would be working twenty-two hours a week and would be able to retire at age thirty-eight.
The reason? The computer age would usher in a gleaming array of advances that would do our work for us while stabilising our economy.
Take the household, they cited. Microwaves, quick-fix foods, and food processors will pave the way into the carefree future. And the office? Copiers will replace stencil machines, computers will replace filing cabinets, typewriters and even secretaries.
And now, years later, we have everything the report promised. But strangely, the average amount of leisure time has shrunk 37 percent since 1973. The average work week has increased from forty-one to forty-seven hours.
Why didn’t the forecast come true? What did the committee overlook? Simply this… They misjudged the appetite of the consumer. Yes we are more efficient, but the free time gained for us by technology didn’t make us relax; it made us run even harder. Gadgets provided more time . . . more time meant more potential money . . . more potential money meant more time needed . . . and round and round it went. Life grew louder as demands became greater. And as demands became greater, lives grew emptier.
“I’ve got so many irons in the fire, I can’t keep any of them hot,” complained one young father.
This is what life is like… passing us by if we let it, chasing after things that don’t really matter!
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.
100 years from now we will all be skeletons, every one of us. We spend so much time improving our bodies, making ourselves look good, using our talent, but these will all disappear in a heartbeat! No matter how old or young you are right now, it’s time to stop and examine how we spend time!
When you reach the age of 70, you will have lived 840 months. That’s 25,550 days or 613,200 hours or 36,792,000 minutes—give or take a few minutes and hours associated with leap years.
All of it is a gift from God, and it’s not yours… you must be a steward of this great gift. Managing time is important!
So let me challenge your management of time in 2 key ways…
1. MANAGING TIME AS AN INVESTMENT
If you think of time as an investment, you will want maximum return for your investment. We invest financially and expect good returns, and we invest in our health and bodies expecting good results, but we often squander our most precious commodity… time!
So when Managing time, decide what’s important… what’s really important, and invest you time into that. Is TV important in eternity? Is Facebook? Is your job? Is your house? Why do we invest such huge slabs of time into things that ultimately do not matter?
2. MANAGING TIME AS A BALANCE
When Managing time think of time in terms of bucket of rocks. Put the big things in before you add the little things, otherwise the big things will not fit. You should prioritise your tasks and schedule the important things first. And what are important things? That’s the question, isn’t it? Is TV watching important?… not really. Is prayer and reading the Word important? Yes, so prioritise your time!
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
To discover the right way to steward your time, you can do no better than looking at Jesus…
Jesus never justified His schedule, He never made excuses for what He did, and never apologised for not being able to help someone.
Jesus was never hurried or flustered. He took His time, even when Lazarus was ill, knowing timing was all part of God’s master plan.
Jesus did not find His schedule stressful. He got tired, and He took time to recover. He never forced the pace, He was comfortable with how He managed the time pressures He faced.
So to finish this message off, let’s look at how Jesus invested and managed time…
1. TIME FOR PRAYER AND BIBLE STUDY
And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed.
Jesus always, always found time to pray! He started His day with it, and so should you and I!
For many of us, prayer is a last resort. We turn to praying when things are going wrong for us. Prayer should not be a way through crisis, it should be a way of life. It was for Jesus!
do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Prayer brings peace, it allows God to speak to you and lets you be still even in a storm. I don’t just need this when I face a major crisis, I need this peace, this alignment with the Spirit of God every single day, and so do you.
And married to prayer is the study of God’s Word. I am committed to the study God’s Word every day, and every morning I spend time in prayer and Bible Study. That’s why I designed the Bible reading plan for our church, not to burden you and soak up time you haven’t got, but to release you into all God has for you. If you are too busy to pray and read His Word, you’re just too busy! Managing time is required.
John Wesley would rise up at 4 AM every day to seek God for the first four hours of the day. In his later years Wesley was known to spend up to 8 hours in prayer.
When asked what he did if he faced a busy day, he replied that he got up earlier, because a busy day required more prayer!
So turn of that TV, get out of Facebook, get off the computer and open God’s Word!
Jesus prioritised time in prayer and learning the Scriptures, and so should we!
2. TIME FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS
Jesus made time for family and good friends. He attended weddings, feasts and dinners and even in the cross was concerned for his mother’s provision. He had close friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus, and he had meals with loads of people, from close friends like Lazarus to Zacchaeus. He had His disciples He hung out with day in and day out, and was closest to 3 of them in particular, Peter, James and John.
On His last night alive, knowing He was facing imminent death, He chose to spend it with His closest friends, the disciples. And He said this…
No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.
Jesus valued family and friends, and prioritised spending time with them. And so should we!
3. TIME FOR WORK
Jesus had a busy schedule and He made time for His work, teaching, preaching and healing. In 3 short years of ministry, He invested time into His work, training and preparing the disciples for the future, teaching in synagogues and touching people’s lives.
We have a responsibility to work. The Bible doesn’t teach us to be slackers or bludgers, and the Word retirement is never mentioned in the Bible. What we have to discover is the right balance between working for money and working for the Kingdom. As your pastor, I combine the two, and I’d encourage you to do so also. I put time into being an Optometrist, and overtime into serving the Lord in church.
If you find yourself with less time working, say through retirement, unemployment or great time management, I want to encourage you to use the available time at least in part serving the Lord.
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men,
I am committed to working hard and serving the Lord in the church, and in secular work. I endeavour to do everything as unto the Lord, not man. Whatever I put my hand to, I believe that I will see it prosper, because I do it for Jesus, not for money or pride. And He takes my feeble efforts and crowns them with great success, and He will do the same for you!
But here’s what I have learned…
Being active does not automatically mean that you are effective.
Being busy does not automatically mean that you are productive.
Being overbooked and overextended does not automatically mean that you are profitable.
Let me confess to you my sin right now… it’s the tyranny of the urgent! I once read a small book and realised that my time is often most heavily governed by what appears urgent, not what’s important. As a pastor, there are so many urgent pressures, so many people with needs, but I need God’s wisdom to discern the important, not react to the urgent!
Ask God to make your work time profitable for the Kingdom, and let Him have His way with your work. But we need to find balance in our work, and I have tremendous trouble finding the balance. Managing time is important.
Being a workaholic is as damaging as being slothful. Laziness is not taking time off work, but wasting the time we have on things that do not matter. Watching TV, playing computer games, crafts, Facebook, YouTube, they are all fine, unless they start to dominate your life. But work is the same.
One of the great lessons I have learned being a bivocational pastor is segmentation. At work, I have set hours and I work, and often work hard. But I leave work at work. I have learned to write sermons, have meetings and make calls in between appointments in my working day.
Jesus prioritise work, but He also balanced it to minimise stress and pressure. And so should we!
And don’t take your work home and stew on it all night either! Managing time is essential.
4. TIME FOR WORSHIP
Even in His busy schedule, Jesus made time to attend the synagogue and worship with others. We are instructed to gather with believers and to not stop attending church…
And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
I meet Christians all the time who say they love the Lord but hate church, and believe me I understand that. Often church is long, boring, overly religious, irrelevant in many ways and somewhere between useless and painful. If I make it useless and painful, I apologise.
You can be a Christian and not go to church, but that’s not normal. You can be married and not live together, but that’s not normal either. If church is a waste of time, find another church, but don’t throw away the tremendous benefit of meeting with other believers!
Especially with the caliber of people we have in this church. They can encourage you, care for you, help you in times of crisis. They can challenge you, inspire you and stand with you. Our church is a family, and it’s a great family. Sure every family has a weird cousin, but we love each other. If you need a great church, this is it!
If you are too busy to come to church, I guarantee you your spiritual life will suffer. We need each other, and that’s how God designed church. Managing time is important.
Jesus prioritised meeting with believers, and so should we!
5. TIME FOR RELAXATION AND REST
Jesus relaxed and rested often, and so should we!
And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.
In our modern, workaholic lives we need to hear this. Come Ye apart or come Ye apart… if you don’t, you will!
Rest and relaxation will restore your energy, rejuvenate your soul, refresh your relationship with family and friends, and renew your walk with the Lord.
I used to think if I wasn’t busy I was idle. I even felt guilty of I took time to relax, because there was always something else to do! But calculated time to relax is not idleness but reenergising.
Just this week God spoke to me in my quiet time…
Be still, and know that I am God
In the midst of turmoil and strife, overwhelmed with the storms of life, the psalmist said be still. And in Hebrew, the word doesn’t mean waste your time, it doesn’t mean run from your troubles, it is a command and it literally means cease striving. It means total rest, to go limp, to drop down, to sink to relax and to withdraw.
We all need rest. For you it could mean to go fishing, play a game, spend time with people you love, travel somewhere exotic. It might mean, and I don’t understand this, go shopping! Managing time is different for different people.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Jesus prioritised rest and relaxation. He needed it, and so do we!
6. TIME FOR SLEEP
I have always thought that sleep was me wasting my time. To this day I struggle to sleep well, and struggle to turn my brain off! I am preaching to myself, because I am a self confessed workaholic. I find leisure hard to take and sleep illusive at times. Without sleep you can only keep life up for so long!
Studies show that in our society most adults are sleep deprived, not just mums! If you get 4-5 hours sleep a night, that’s half of what experts say you really need.
During deep, sound sleep, your bodies hormone levels are rebalanced and reset for the next day’s activities, dead cells are replaced with new ones and your immunity is built up to help you fight off bacterial and viral infections. Doctors tell us that sleep is one of the most therapeutically beneficial prescriptions for those struggling with physical ailments, mental disorders, or emotional exhaustion.
In Matthew 8:23-26, Jesus slept so soundly he slept through a raging storm in a boat! Why? Because He knew He needed to rejuvenate His body to serve properly. So take steps to get enough sleep!
In the 21st century, blue light is an issue. Studies show that using blue light producing equipment like iPads, kindles, computers and the like reduces the production of melatonin, and literally wakes you up. So, your Optometrist says, don’t use blue light emitting devices in the hour before you sleep, or get blue guard on your glasses!
Jesus prioritised sleep, and so should we!
7. TIME FOR HEALTH
Jesus lived a healthy life. He walked everywhere, miles and miles a day. He was fit and healthy. Are you?
Health has 3 aspects… reducing stress, eating properly and exercising appropriately. Do you eat the right things? Do you exercise?
As far as food goes, here’s Pastor Darin’s 3 golden rules…
- If you get it from a drive through, don’t eat it.
- If it has a mascot, don’t eat it
- If a native crawled out of the jungle, would he recognise it. If he wouldn’t, don’t eat it!
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
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, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.
Some of us are busy expanding the walls of God’s temple! We need to get serious about what we eat and how we exercise, see Lynn Preece.
And this includes what we do with our bodies. God wants you to abstain from things that cause you harm. This includes sexual immorality, drugs, stress or anything else. I remember one little girl who thought smokers must love Jesus more because they want to get to heaven quicker than everybody else.
Jesus prioritised health, and so should we!
IT’S TIME TO MAKE TIME FOR WHAT REALLY MATTERS!
Managing time, as we discussed, is limited. And we all get the same amount. Great men of God get no more time than I do, they just learn to use it more effectively.
Do you want to maximise your time? Do you want to reach your full potential in God? Do you really want to change and impact the world for Christ? Do you? Then join me in consecrating or setting aside time for what really matters
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.
If you like me struggle to balance your time, I want you to come forward and give your time to the Lord. Ask Him to reveal how you should use your time, and let’s get this imbalance back into balance.
I once made a commitment to the Lord… no Bible, no breakfast. It changed my life. I have had a quiet time, read the Bible and prayed almost every day for the last 30 years, and have never consistently eaten breakfast. Will you join me in making this commitment too? Managing time can be a huge asset.