Have you noticed how time gobblers strut into our homes during the holidays? If we’re not careful, they’ll roost in the corners and take up residence for the new year. I don’t mean Thanksgiving turkeys. I’m referring to those mischievous time robbers, the ones we need to avoid so we can use time as God intends.
These pests flash neon signs to distract me. Did you know they wear costumes? Yes, they camouflage themselves and blend into my agenda.
Time gobblers often dress in communication garb with accessories like text messages and phone calls. Some of them masquerade as computer or cell notifications. Others disguise themselves as alluring store flyers with “SALE ENDS FRIDAY” and nest in my mailbox.
When I walk through my house, more of these nuisances demand attention. A wilting plant, a stained shirt, a crooked lampshade, three more oatmeal cookies and three chapters of a good novel. As the king in the musical The King and I said, “Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” The items on this list may be worthy of our attention, but they can devour precious moments and sabotage our goals for the day.
I start each day with intentions of productivity, but some days, as soon as I gain momentum, “Gobble, gobble, gobble.” The time-chomping pests attack, and I’m off-task.
Sometimes human need intervenes, and we must decide if the request for our time is one that requires attention right away, later, or if it should be a matter of prayer instead of action. “Interruptions” could be God-appointed and result in blessings for another person or for us.
“Interruptions” could be God-appointed and result in blessings for another person or for us. Click To Tweet
Please give us wisdom, Lord.
What do your time gobblers look and sound like? How do you stay on track and focus on what’s most important?
Sometimes when I’m bombarded with distractions and numerous options for time use, I struggle to distinguish between good choices and the best choice. I’m asking God to help me use my time for His glory as He reveals His will. I want to choose wisely.
In Tyranny of the Urgent, Charles E. Hummel differentiates between the urgent and the important. He warns seemingly urgent tasks may rob us of the opportunity to meet an important goal. 1 Sometimes the most valuable activities, like exercising or building relationships, are postponed indefinitely because they aren’t urgent.
Mr. Hummel poses a question that captured my attention. “What was the secret of Jesus’ ministry?”
I considered how Jesus took time to speak with the woman at the well, to visit with Zacchaeus in his home, to heal the lame, and to feed the crowd. However, as the author pointed out, Jesus did not instantly meet the needs of all who clamored for His attention (Mark 1:35-39, John 11:1-6) but instead remained focused on the Father’s will.
Near the end of His earthly ministry, Jesus said to His Father,
I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.John 17:4 ESV
I long to accomplish the work God gives me to do, to have my plans aligned with His. To use every bit of skill, talent, time, and opportunity He gives me this side of heaven. Isn’t that your desire as well? Let’s ask ourselves these questions:
- What gifts did God give me for His glory?
- How is He equipping me?
- How can I use each twenty-four-hour period to honor Him?
- Am I caring for my physical, emotional, and spiritual health?
- Am I wasting time or using it to honor Christ daily as I balance rest and activity?
- How can I know God’s will for me?
The following verse demonstrates one practice Jesus followed in His mission:
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.Mark 1:35 ESV
Jesus prayed at various times of day. For us, reading God’s Word and praying as early as possible are advantageous when we’re seeking daily guidance. Would you like some encouragement on this topic? Here’s a promise:
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.Psalm 32:8 ESV
As the holidays approach, let’s consider how His will might differ from ours. How can we use time for His glory, including times of rest and celebration? Perhaps a lonely neighbor would enjoy a visit. Although not urgent, the visit may be the most important use of our time.
Instead of filling our days with as many activities as we can cram in, I’m asking God to show you and me how to honor Him with our time and how to pray and rest well. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to approach the Christmas season and the new year filled with the peace of Christ as we seek His will and use time wisely?
Please share the ways you plan your days or tell us about a time when God’s plans differed from yours. Until we meet again, watch out for those time gobblers.
1Hummel, Charles E. Tyranny of the Urgent. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1994.