I've been thinking a lot about time lately. Days seem to fly by faster than when I was a child. I once read that if your day flies by, that means you are absorbed in what you are doing and you are happy. So I guess that's a good thing. But as I've studied this topic from an eternal perspective, here's a short list of some of the things I've been mulling over as I ponder "time management" as a Christian:
- There's only one person who will ever complete His "To Do" list and He already did it:
"When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, 'It is finished,' and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit" (John 19:30).
- My ambitions about productivity have to be reshaped by the idea that I'm simply a steward. I am responsible for investing and multiplying what I receive from the Lord because I will give an account to Him one day for my activities. What isn't from Him is a waste of time.
- Discerning the difference between stewarding what God has put on my To Do list and what I put on there for other reasons is very hard. I have to recalibrate on a regular basis by praying over my priorities and activities.
- As someone who is chronically on deadline, I still must find a way to live with margin in my life. By this, I mean that I need flexibility in my schedule for God to interrupt me with His ministry needs. Those things usually arrive in the form of someone needing my help or attention. If close friends and family don't think they have access to me or can interrupt me, then I know I have things on my To Do list that shouldn't be there. Jesus had a very important schedule, but He was available to minister to others as He saw His Father at work.
- Productivity is not the same as fruitfulness. Fruitfulness is the eternal measurement—the multiplication of the work the Holy Spirit is doing in and through us. Productivity is task-oriented but those tasks aren't necessarily fruitful when measured through eternal impact. I find I can get a lot done, but nothing that will be meaningful even next year much less in light of eternity. We will always have tasks like these to do, but are they crowding out what's important?
- The tyranny of the urgent is even more of a harsh taskmaster in a constantly wired world. I first read Charles Hummel’s booklet The Tyranny of the Urgent as the Internet was poised to take off. Now I can appreciate even more why it is critical to schedule the important priorities before responding to the crush of urgencies and social media connections. (Enjoy this short read by clicking on the link above.)
As a follower of Christ, how do you think about and manage your time?