Put your house in order, because you are going to die… Isaiah 38:1
More and more of life is lived in the fast lane. Compare your schedule now with what it was ten years ago. More leisure time today, or then? Growing up you wrote letters and waited a long time for a response. Today, however, you send an e-mail or a FAX and you are chafing at the bit, like a restless horse, if you don’t have a response by the next morning.
Take inventory of the time-saving devices which you have in your home. On that list you would probably write computer, which allows you to do an e-mail, access the Internet, pay bills, check the weather or get directions to where you want to go on a Sunday. If you don’t want to carry a computer, you take a small smart phone which gives you an internet connection and about anything else your computer does. You can take a picture with it and send it immediately almost anywhere in the world.
In your kitchen you look around and notice that almost all of your appliances are supposed to save you time, but there’s one thing that doesn’t quite make sense. You actually have less and less time as these time-saving, labor-saving devices eat up your waking hours.
How do you fight back against the encroachment on your time? Frankly, if you don’t, the enemies outside the gate will take it for you–phone calls, interruptions, people who stop by to chat, and endless detours. The following guidelines almost certify the obvious but are vitally necessary:
Guideline #1: Have a plan and stay with your plan. No, you can’t do everything, so list the “must do” items in one column, the column “should do” in another, and the “can do” in the third. Start working on the most important “must do” item and stay with that until you are finished.
Guideline #2: Prioritize what isn’t negotiable–time with your family, your wife, and your God. When you knock on heaven’s door, you won’t be asked how much time you spent at the office, but your relationships and how you’ve spent your time will all be on the docket.
Guideline #3: Simplify, simplify, simplify. Having more does not always satisfy; having less usually simplifies. Pack less in your suitcase, don’t try to do quite so much, be satisfied with less.
Guideline #4: Make every day count. That was exactly the point that Moses made when he wrote, “So help us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). In his provocative book Adrenalin, author James Glick says, “A lot of our obsession with rush is the fear of death.” He’s saying that we will fill our lives with more and more things, accelerating the speed at which we live, because we want to hold off seeing it end.
The person who lives judiciously knows that the days of our years are numbered, and that’s why he strives to make each one count, waiting on God at the beginning of every day to know how to live with purpose and meaning.
Guideline #5: To the degree that you can, live every day without regrets. A man who didn’t really follow his own advice, Samuel Clemens, quipped that you should so live that when you die, even the undertaker would be sorry.
Guideline #6: Slow down and enjoy the flowers. Like a child who spends his coin at a candy store, you have no second chances for some things. So say it now, write it now, enjoy it now, and leave tomorrow in God’s hands. Slow down and enjoy the trip.
Resource reading: Isaiah 38.