If I could save time in a bottle, the first thing that I’d like to do, is to save every day ‘til eternity passes away, just to spend them with you. If I could make days last forever, if words could make wishes come true, I’d save every day like a treasure and then, again, I would spend them with you. But there never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them. I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the one I want to go through time with….
Jim Croce wrote “Time in a Bottle” after his wife told him she was pregnant with their son, Adrian, in December 1970. It was on his 1972 debut album. Originally not released as a single, but when Croce was killed in a plane crash in September 1973, the song’s lyrics, dealing with mortality and the wish to have more time, spoke volumes. It hit #1 14 weeks after he was killed in a plane crash.
But we cannot save ‘time in a bottle.’ Time flows consistently by us. No one gets more or less time than anyone else. We choose how we spend our time. We can never get it back once it is spent.
Time is different than talent or treasure. We can improve or lose our talent and treasure. We can even add to our talent or treasure. Not everyone has the same amount of talent and treasure. But not time. We all have the same amount and we cannot add or subtract our time.
We cannot really manage time. But we can manage our activities during time. God is concerned how we use our time. I encourage you to use your time wisely.
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.” (Colossians 3:17)
FOUR QUESTIONS FOR ALL TIME
- Do others see Jesus living through me during this time? “in the name of Jesus”
- Am I thankful for how I’m using my time? “giving thanks”
- Do I honor Jesus in the words I use? “whatsoever you do in word”
- Do I honor Jesus in the actions I take? “whatsoever you do in deed”
Now that we know how we should spend our time, let’s look at 5 Biblical principles of time management:
1- Set priorities. It’s the ‘Tinker Toys Test’ How do you get all the tinker toys in the box? Put the big pieces in first. Then everything fits. If life is crowded, you aren’t putting in the big pieces in first. Discover your big pieces!
2- Build relationships. Jesus told us that the two greatest commands have to do with our relationships. We are to love God and love others with everything we have. Everything else is unimportant. Why? Because stuff will disappear. But relationships will last. Spend your time on things that will last.
3- Take time to plan. Jesus told His disciples to ‘Count the cost.’ He wanted them to figure out what they wanted to do and then plan what it will take to get it done. Consider your resources, your available time, your objectives and then work out a plan. “Flying by the seat of your pants” is not a successful plan.
4- Be diligent but flexible. Steady wins the race. The turtle always beats the rabbit in the children’s story. Stick with it. Be faithful but be flexible. No matter how much you plan, anything can happen. ‘Blessed are the flexible, for they are not easily broken.’
5- Create margin. Don’t schedule every minute of every day. As a matter of fact, God put in His 10 Commandments one whole day to rest, do nothing but think about Him. Create margin. Margin is the space that exists between you and your limits. It is time held in reserve for contingencies or unanticipated situations. Do more by doing less.
THREE OF MY MARGINS
Let me share with you 3 areas I have created margin. These are three areas I have dedicated to God to allow me time to do my priorities:
1- Sunday is the Lord’s Day. I have made a commitment that my Sunday belongs to God. I know every day belongs to Him. But I know that life is so busy that if I do not create a day for God, He will get crowded out. So, on Sunday I try not to let anything distract me. I go to church, spend time with my family, sit down and relax. I don’t do house work. I don’t run. I don’t work unless it is an emergency. This promise has served me well.
2- My morning belongs to God. To keep this commitment I’ve had to change my routine. I get up early enough that I have quiet time to spend with God. A book that has helped me is “Miracle Morning.” Every morning I do 5 things: Pray, Read my Bible, Journal, Affirmations, and Exercise. I have scheduled it so that I can spend 10 minutes or 1 hour or more.
3- Say No so I can say Yes. This is the hardest for me. I have always been someone who sees something that needs to get done and I do it. But this has led me into the place where I’m doing everything else except what I should be doing. So a few months ago I went through my ‘To Do” List and crossed out stuff that really doesn’t matter. I have learned to say No to many good things so I can do the things that really matter. Just because it should be done doesn’t mean I’m supposed to do it.
You can’t do it all. You have just enough time to get everything done that God wants you to do. So, if you have more to do than time to get it done, you are busier than God ever intended you to be. Talk with Him. What should you be doing? What can you eliminate to get it done? How can you “do it all in the name of the Lord.”