“Dost thou love life?” asked the venerable Ben Franklin more than 200 years ago. “Then do not squander time, for that’s the stuff life is made of!” And who would question what Franklin said? Regardless of the inequities in life, when it comes to the use of our time, we are all equal. Genius or idiot, gifted or neglected, wise or foolish, when it comes to time, we all have exactly the same amount—24 hours per day for every person. Yet, when it comes to the use of our time, it becomes readily apparent that there are vast differences in how we handle it.
Are you interested in knowing how to get more out of the hours that you do have? Then this discussion is just for you. If you are a Christian and acknowledge that your life really belongs to God, it can only follow that your time also belongs to Him—something that few people ever give much thought to. Therefore, before you even begin to plan your day, you should consult with your Heavenly Father. For years I have made it a practice to begin every day by saying, “Lord, what are we going to do today? Let’s walk together. I need your guidance,” and right then I give that day back to Him who first gave it to me.
A lot of folks never stop to consult their Heavenly Father on the use of their time, never considering the fact that God does have a will when it comes to the very important area of our time. Now, this brings us to our first guideline for today.
The LORD…He will be the sure foundation of your times… Isaiah 33:5-6
Guideline #1: Be definite in how you plan the use of your time.
For years I have worked with a simple plan that I picked up from a friend 25 years ago. At the beginning of each week, I make a list of the most important items which must be done, and then set out systematically to accomplish the most pressing need, ignoring the task which I would most like to work on.
Every morning I consult that list and tackle the most pressing item. Simple? Of course, but believe me, it has proved itself year in and year out when it comes to contributing to accomplishment.
Guideline #2: Be definite but flexible in your plan.
Remember, I said, at the beginning of the day give your day back to the Lord. And what does that accomplish? Simply put, if your day does belong to the Lord, it is His concern when your plans go awry and you face interruptions which you did not anticipate—people walk in whom you did not expect, telephone calls take your time, the traffic gets tied up and you sit there.
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,” says the Psalmist, (Psalm 37:23, KJV) and I have never been able to forget the words of George Mueller, who added, “Yes, and so are the stops of a good man!” When someone walks into my office whom I had not expected, I have learned to say, “Lord, you sent that person, not to take up my time, but to allow me the privilege of ministering to that person or helping that person.” Interruptions become God’s appointments. Try it, and see how it takes the pressure off.
Guideline #3: Be dependent upon your Heavenly Father when it comes to the use of your time.
Most of us plan just a bit more than we can ever accomplish, and the end result is frustration. When doors close, do not yell and scream and grow even more frustrated. Realize that God allowed that door to close, perhaps to show you His great strength, perhaps to open it for you in such a way that you will know He did it; perhaps because He did not want you to take the step you wanted to take. His way is always best.
Resource reading: Psalm 90:1-17