4 Guidelines To Using Your Time Wisely
Be very careful…how you live…. Ephesians 5:15a
Time does not come to you in hours or days–not even in minutes. It is dribbled out to you by God, one second at a time. Like fine sand through our fingers, seconds that are wasted slip away and eventually pile up into minutes and hours. Years ago, the Apostle Paul provided guidelines for living when he said that we are to walk “not as unwise” but we are to “…make the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16). If we are to translate Paul’s words into our lives, we are going to have to do several things. Here are some guidelines in using your time wisely:
Guideline #1: Underline the importance of the present. Do you start your work on time, or are you a charter member of the “dawdler’s club?” You become a member of the club by starting a job and then getting sidetracked. You know how it goes–you have to do something, so you pick up your phone and think, “Just one look.” Or you clean up your desk or do an errand–then the first thing you know, the hour is shot. Here is a good motto to practice: Do it now! It is not what we do that tires us out–it is what we don’t get done that really tires us out and worries us.
Guideline #2: Have a plan to utilize waiting time. A University of Wisconsin analyst showed that the average person spends three years of his lifetime just “waiting.” A Gallup poll sampled 100 persons at random. All of them expected to do some waiting in the next few hours, but only one out of eight had any plan for utilizing that time.
Guideline #3: Evaluate the demands that are made on your time. There is not enough time to do everything you wish, so you are going to have to determine what really is important. Make a priority list. This means that you are going to have to learn to say “No.” Say it kindly, but say it firmly enough so people understand what you are saying. What is really important in your life? Is it more money or a better job? Is it having time for that favorite recreation every week? You will want to determine what really counts in life.
When Christ was here, He had something to say about our time and the proper use of it. He said, “…seek first his kingdom ” (Matthew 6:33). He meant that man must take time for worship and prayer–he must take time to learn how to live. Jesus knew that it is terribly easy to rush through life until suddenly we look death in the face and realize that we were too busy for the things that really counted.
Guideline #4: Take time for what really counts. If you would be genuinely successful, you must take time for a spiritual life. Worship gives us a kind of balance, a centering that realigns our focus on God Himself. When we skip worship it’s because we don’t place enough value on relationship with God to take time for it.
To cut God out of our lives does not give us more time; it merely robs us of the privilege of finding strength and security. The Bible tells us about a man who was tremendously successful. Money was no problem–he was wealthy in real estate holdings. But he lived only for what he could bank, and the day came when his bank deposits were frozen by death. Of him God said, “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you” (Luke 12:20a). If you were to meet God today, what would He say of your life?
Resource reading: Luke 12:13-32