Life drives me crazy. I run around chasing my own tail and it shouldn’t be that hard to catch. We’re all given the same amount of hours in a day, and yet, why is that some people seem to have the secret ability to stash extra amounts of it away like leftovers out of the freezer? Just thaw and re- use! (If you are one of them, may I have a couple of zip-locks? I’ll take 2 half-hours and one 15 minute bag, please).
So on this, my first day of vacation, I recognize that I’m a different person without the demands of my workweek. I’m more relaxed, more available, more creative and easier to live with. I’m hanging on to very last bit of time off like fingernails on a crumbling cliff. I know it shouldn’t be that way. I don’t believe God intended us to run around frazzled and out of balance. Jesus never did, and He accomplished more in one lifetime than any one of us.
Keeping that in mind, I turn to God’s word and examine Jesus’s life from this angle. How did He live? How did He spend and manage His time? It may be true that He lived in a different era and culture, but the principles we can glean from how He lived and what He taught are applicable in any age.
1) Jesus used His time for eternal purpose – Let’s take a wide lens look at the end result of all the time we are given. Sooner or later, there will be (or will not be) something to show for it. Did we, as Christians, accomplish what we were commissioned to do, that is, to know God better and make Him known? If we don’t have an eternal priority, it won’t matter what we did with the details. Ask yourself these questions:
- What activities can I do today that further the purpose of knowing Him and making Him known?
- What gifts and talents do I have to use towards His purpose for me?
- Is there a ministry or direction I know God is leading me towards? How can I move towards that goal?
With that in perspective, what observations can we make from Jesus’s life that we can emulate?
2) Jesus delegated – I find it interesting that even the Son of God delegated tasks to others. He chose a group of disciples to extend His ministry and assist Him. (Luke 6:12-13). By using others, this confirms not only what God intends for our lives (see above point), but it’s also a practical application that we can also delegate tasks to others so we can focus on what’s important. This can be applied in so many ways. Is your 9-5 taking over your life? Is your house out of order? Are you involved in outside projects that others can do for or with you? Who can you delegate work to that would free you up to do your part? Points to ponder.
3) Jesus rested – In Mark 4:38 we read that Jesus rested. This is a big one for me. I think much of the time I’m so stressed is that I think I can be superwoman and do everything, and I find that I can’t because I am dead tired. This principle is even mentioned in Genesis in creation. It says that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. (Genesis 2:2). Not that He needed to; this simply means that He ceased creating on the 7th day and commemorated the Sabbath. On the other hand, we can go to the other extreme, which brings me to my next point-
4) Jesus wasn’t slothful – I don’t see one time that Jesus gives a hint of laziness. Resting, yes, but wasting time, no. Yes, we have so many modern distractions now with all our entertainment and technology, but I think we can all sense when those time-zappers are sucking up our lives. There’s that little voice in the back of your mind that kicks and tells you wake up, figuratively or literally! What may be helpful here is to make that to-do list and keep it where it can be seen at all times, and the discipline and prayer to stick to it.
5) Jesus took time for others – If Jesus took the opportunity to meet the needs of others time and time again, I would think that’s an important investment for you and I as well. There are needs all around us. We can’t ignore family, and we don’t have to look far for a friend or stranger in need. Are we so busy or focused on our lives, trying to catch up on a poorly lived week that we can’t lend a hand? I ask myself that if Jesus took so much time out to minister, teach, heal or even just visit with others, then maybe fellowship and connecting with others needs to be important to us as well.
Consider the principles above and compare your life to them. It might help (and I’m talking to myself here just as much) to make a log of how our time is used over the last week. How much time did each task or activity take? Look around. Where are the leaks? What can be done to fix them?
Here’s some more scripture on the subject:
Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, Yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest– and poverty will come on you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man. (Proverbs 6:6-11)
So teach us to number our days that we may have a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. (Col. 4:5)
I’m sure I haven’t exhausted this topic. (no pun intended). Please let me know of any other tips and principles I’ve left out. Does time management come easy to you or do you struggle with juggling all the demands of life? Are you someone who may have struggled in the past but have found some victory in this area? Would love to hear from you!