I recently read a story of a clock that had been ticking for many, many years on an elderly couple’s mantel. One day, the clock began thinking of how many times during the year it had to tick. The clock realized it had to tick 31,536,000 seconds in one year. Overwhelmed and discouraged, it stopped. Finally, it was reminded that it didn’t have to tick the 31,536,000 seconds all at once, but rather one-by-one. Relieved by this realization, it began ticking once again and ran smoothly for many years to come.
So many times I completely identify with that overwhelmed clock. Just minutes ago, I glanced to the right of my computer screen and saw a long list of items on my To-Do list. At times, that list can be so overpowering that I want to crawl in bed and pull the covers over my head!
Psychologists say Americans are suffering from time poverty. In this incredibly fast-paced world, individuals are trying to keep up with full time jobs, families, personal responsibilities, friendships, and social media outlets, just to name a few. As we rush faster and faster, it seems we fall farther and farther behind. In search of help, I googled time management. Not surprisingly, I found the obvious advice such as Make a List, Prioritize, etc. Though sensible suggestions, I needed more. I went to the Word and was surprised at all the references I found. These passages provided wise counsel and gave me three tangible ways I could better manage my time.
ASK GOD FOR HELP
God made time. He made the day and night, the moon and stars. He knows all about time management. In order to combat our problems with time management, we must ask God for help and commit our plans to Him. If God is at the helm of our decision making, we can be assured the activities we are investing our time in is productive and we are making the most of every opportunity.
Commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. – Proverbs 16:3
… make the most of every opportunity…– Colossians 4:5
IT’S REALLY OKAY TO DELEGATE
Exodus 18:15-27 (The Message)
Moses said to his father-in-law, "Because the people come to me with questions about God. When something comes up, they come to me. I judge between a man and his neighbor and teach them God's laws and instructions."
Moses' father-in-law said, "This is no way to go about it. You'll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you—you can't do this alone. Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men—men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible—and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They'll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They'll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they'll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. If you handle the work this way, you'll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also."
Moses listened to the counsel of his father-in-law and did everything he said. Moses picked competent men from all Israel and set them as leaders over the people who were organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. They took over the everyday work of judging among the people. They brought the hard cases to Moses, but in the routine cases they were the judges. Then Moses said good-bye to his father-in-law who went home to his own country.
When Moses was feeling completely overworked, his father-in-law Jethro advised him to assign responsibilities. Moses wasn’t the only man who delegated responsibilities. Jesus did the same thing when He chose His disciples. Sometimes it feels awkward to farm out our responsibilities, but as Jethro explained to Moses, delegating prevents us from being burned out and establishes team work.
AND IT’S ALSO OKAY TO SAY “THIS ISN’T MY BEST YES”
About a year ago, my Bible Study Group read the book The Best Yes by Lysa Terkeurst. The premise behind the book is that there are so many wonderful things we can yes to, but isn’t wise to say yes to everything. For one, when we schedule our time too tightly, we neglect something, and we tend to get overwhelmed. In addition, if we say yes to everything then we are preventing someone else from possibly saying yes and receiving a blessing. So since we can’t say yes to everything, what is our best yes?
The next time I feel overwhelmed, I am going to remember the overwhelmed clock and realize my work doesn’t all have to be completed at once. More importantly, I’m going to commit every second of my time to Him, delegate my responsibilities, and practice discerning what my best yes is.
HOW WILL WE USE OUR 86,400 SECONDS?
Finally, as Harvey MacKay stated, “Time is free, but it's priceless. You can't own it, but you can use it. You can't keep it, but you can spend it. Once you've lost it you can never get it back.”
Lord willing, we’ll have 86,400 seconds today. We must remember we don’t have to use them all at once, but my prayer is that God will bless every single second and use them for His glory. I also pray that I will use those 86,400 seconds to encourage others, talk to my Father, make someone giggle, give someone hope, and share Christ’s love. I pray you will do the same.