We all begin each day with a finite number of hours, so we must have faith that God will help us use our time wisely. He’s the one who designed the 24-hour period, but it’s up to us to manage it properly with His help.
During those 24 hours, we all need time to sleep, time to eat, and time to maintain our bodies. We’ll never get so spiritual as to rise above these basic needs.
I’m amazed at the stories I hear from some people I meet. For instance, I bumped into a guy who actually hadn’t slept in two weeks. He said the Holy Spirit was refreshing him so he could pray around the clock.
Boy! When I heard that, my mouth dropped open. But, bless his heart, he received some gentle correction and got back on track before his mind and body gave out completely.
Since there are certain things that aren’t optional, we must allocate an appropriate amount of time for them. If we do them according to God’s design and principles, we’ll be blessed. We can keep sicknesses and diseases away and even keep the aging process from accelerating too quickly.
That means as we age, we may require a little more sleep. An important part of time management is being sure to get enough rest. God rested, and so should we.
If we spend seven hours sleeping and one hour eating, that leaves us 16 hours for other things. Most management “gurus” or consultants would warn against scheduling more than 80 percent of our available time to accommodate any unplanned contingencies or emergencies that may occur.
That means we should leave three unscheduled hours out of 24. Now, out of those 13 hours usually comes a minimum of eight hours dedicated to work.
Don’t forget work. The Bible says, “The labour of the righteous tendeth to life” (Pro. 10:16). It’s the will of God that we work, and if we’re living in America today, that means we’re working about eight hours minimum every day.
After working eight hours a day, that leaves five hours left over. So we can see how important our time becomes when we break it down this way.
Another major consideration that we must factor into our schedules is time spent taking care of our bodies. We need to exercise and take care of the Holy Spirit’s temple. I usually blend my meditation time with my exercise time. I use exercise and meditation with God together because I can do both without compromising either.
Sometimes I can run while I listen to the Word playing. Other times, I work out in my house while watching a video of somebody preaching. And still other times, I just play praise music and worship the Lord while I work out. Exercise lends itself to this kind of activity.
Beware of the television. It’s potentially a huge time waster. Some surveys have shown that the average American spends four hours a day watching television, and some children spend as many as six!
I want to pose a question: If you’re prone to watching two or three hours of TV a night, where do you get the time to do other things? And you wonder why your life gets so complicated. There just isn’t room for that kind of distraction.
There certainly will be days when we may have to use our flextime, or unscheduled time, to wind down. And there may be other times when we need to spend some time, for example, reading recreationally or watching a good TV program.
There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if you’re watching a program on which the Word is being preached, rather than watching junk.
Plan for the Unexpected
I can remember one season of time when my wife, Lynne, really got into this time-management thing. At the beginning, she had her whole day all laid out. There wasn’t one minute that wasn’t planned and accounted for. The funny thing is that she didn’t plan for contingencies.
Back then we had a cockatiel named Moses. I hated that bird. I don’t think he cared for me either because he would bite me. (Talk about biting the hand that feeds you!)
At that time, we stored Moses’ birdseed in the refrigerator to keep it fresh. That worked well until one of the kids left the big sack of birdseed sitting right on the edge of the shelf.
One day Lynne opened the refrigerator door, on schedule I might add, and bang! The sack fell out and birdseed scattered all over the kitchen floor, into the dining room, and even into the living room. What an unscheduled mess!
That almost did Lynne in. She came close to quitting her time-management plan right then.
You might laugh (I did), but that’s the feeling you can have when you run too tight a time-management schedule and don’t allow for contingencies. If we don’t provide for some flex in our schedule, when something unexpected happens, it can make us want to throw in the towel.
We don’t need to be dogmatic about scheduling our time. Just remember to use some common sense.
Many times I’ve heard people say they wish they had more time in a day. But as you can see, 24 hours is plenty of time. It’s simply a matter of how we manage and spend that time.