Prioritising our time
Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the will of the Lord is. Ephesians5: 17
In the previous chapter I commenced by saying that there are a multitude of distractions that compete for out time. The same could also be said in a sense of the number of avenues of service that compete for our time. It is the easiest thing in the world to be very busy in our Christian life. In virtually every church you go into you will find a number of vacancies for jobs or services that need doing and I'm sure that it is right to be occupied in helping out in some way in each fellowship, otherwise nothing would get done. But so often you will find some people so busy in their church life doing this and that, going here and there, and sometimes becoming quite exhausted in the process. If we keep on volunteering for this and that we will keep busy enough for sure but there may not be any real virtue in that because we are not really doing what God wants for us in our Christian life. Let us consider Martha, who was very busy in her service for the Master ("distracted with much serving") to the point of near exhaustion, but that it was her sister Mary who was commended by the Lord, not for her service, but for sitting at His feet, and learning from Him (Luke 10:39). If we are not careful we can easily find ourselves extremely busy in our Christian life but "not" in the will of God because we have never sought to find out really what He wants of us. This is something that I have been guilty of in the past and I used to think that this was very "spiritual" but since then Iíve come to see that it is no such thing, but it can actually be a weapon used by Satan to wear out God's people. I'm not saying that we shouldn't help out in church activities wherever we can, far from it, but what I am saying is that we need to be careful that we don't find ourselves being occupied with a multitude of worthy causes but at the same time neglecting or even being unaware of the service God wants for our life. A friend of somebody I knew was for sometime writing a book that he believed God wanted him to write. My friend was continually encouraging this person to finish the book, but his reply was always the same, that he was far too busy with all he had to do. The problem was that he just couldnít say "no" to people who asked him to do things. Eventually he died and the book was sadly never finished. Godís purpose for him and maybe for the church was thwarted by his unwillingness to prioritise the activities of his life. Sometimes it is necessary to say "no" to people, hard as it may be, in order to ensure that we achieve Godís purpose for our life.
The need for prioritising our time applies to every area of our life. I've heard of so many cases of people being so busy in "the work of the Lord" that they neglect their family in the process. To be involved in God's work is very important but not at the expense of neglecting our wife and children. There have been a number of family break-ups because of such irresponsibility. When we come home from work do we spend time with our family as we should do or do we bring work home with us and spend the evening with our minds occupied with that and no time for even talking with our family? Sometimes these things are necessary but we need to be careful that they don't start taking over in our lives, otherwise we may in later life find ourselves regretting what we have done when our family has got big problems.
Our time really needs to be prioritised from morning to night. I do believe that one of the things that is right for a Christian is to set aside time for reading God's word and prayer each morning. If, however, we are up until late at night watching movies and then can't get up in the morning for our quiet time then we have not leant to prioritise our time properly, if at all. Somebody by the name of Gordon Cove, who was a popular Christian author in my early Christian life, considered his time with God in the morning so important that he would go to bed at 10.30pm each evening, even if he had visitors. By doing this he ensured that he would get up early enough to have his all-important time with God in the morning. Is our time with God so important to us, or is it just an Ďoptional extraí- something we will have if we should happen to get up in time? Personally if I do not have that time alone with God first thing in the morning then I am not at my best for the rest of the day. In Mathew 6:33 it says, seek first His kingdom and His righteousness" and I do believe that this is one of the most important things to do in our lives.
As previously stated there is a need to prioritise our time in every area of our lives. We need to have our time with God, but not neglect our family in the process. We need to spend time with our family but not at the expense of neglecting our attendance at the house of God. "Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some (Hebrews 10:25)." We need to be conscientious in our duties as a good employee at our workplace, but not at the expense of neglecting all our other responsibilities. These are all danger areas which time again we see people getting wrong in their lives with the resultant consequences.
We all have a number of responsibilities before our family, our church and before God and we need to ensure that we do not neglect one as against the other. The Pharisees were very religious people, in fact so religious that their religious fervour was hypocritical in God's sight. For example one of their sayings was that "what you (their parents) would have gained from me is given to God," (Mark 7:11) but God was not pleased with them because in their zeal for God's service they had neglected another important commandment "to honour your father and mother." We also need to be careful that we also don't find ourselves doing the same things in our Christian lives. It is important that we seek to labour for the Master but it is also important that we honour our father and mother, that we love our wives, or honour our husbands, and that we respect our children (Ephesians 5:21-6:4) and so on. We, therefore, need to learn how to prioritise our time in all these important areas of our life.