Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Redeeming the Time: Time Management, Sort Of

by CWK

Biblical Time Management: How do I employ time in a REDEMPTIVE way?

Actually: the phrase ‘time management’ is a misnomer; time ‘manages us,’ time dominates and overwhelms us. The whole problem is that we cannot manage time: it is unmanagemanable, and, as we shall see, there is a reason for that: we are finite.

If you could hear the clock ticking, you would hear, “Now! Now! Now!”

 1) We should be humble about time (James: we are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes, (James 4:14).

There is such a thing as procrastinating based on ‘future’ time of opportunity. We should not depend on such a time.

“Boast not thyself of tomorrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth. (Prov. 27:1).”

            Jonathan Edwards, commenting on “The Sin and Folly of Depending on Future Time:”

 Therefore, the wise man in these books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, agreeably to his design, insists on this part of wisdom. He tells us the advantage of seeking Christ early (see Prov. 8:17). And advises us "to do what our hand findeth to do, with our might" (Eccles. 9:10). He advises young people to remember their Creator in the days of their youth, while the evil days come not, in which they shall say they have no pleasure (see Eccles. 12:1). So here he advises us to a wise improvement of the present season.-- In the words are two things to be particularly observed:
1. The precept, "not to boast of tomorrow"; i.e. not to speak or act as though it were our own. It is absurd for men to boast of that which is not theirs. The wise man would not have us behave ourselves as though any time were ours but the present. He that boasts of tomorrow, acts as though he had tomorrow in his possession, or had something whereby he might depend on it, and call it his own.
2. The reason given for this precept; "for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth". It is a good reason why we should not behave ourselves as though the morrow were our own, that indeed it is not; we are not sure of it; we have no hold of future time; we know not whether we shall see the morrow: or if we do know that we shall see it, we know not what we shall see on it.--Hence, we ought to behave ourselves every day, as though we had no dependence on any other.

Q: How would we live if we lived in greater dependence on today?

2) We ought to do the good we know to do (James 4:16).

“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it. So not say to your neighbor, “God and come again, tomorrow I will give it” – when you have it with you (Proverbs 3:27-28).” There are some basic things we know from scripture that we ought to do right away: pay off a debt if we are able, ask forgiveness when we know we have wronged someone, etc.

Q: What are some things that we know we should do right away, but that we ‘put off’ to a more convenient time?

3) Focus on time you can do something about: TODAY.

1. Don’t waste time on the future:
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matt. 6:34).” We can waste a lot of time in the present be focusing on future days and troubles that may not even materialize (Illus. What are you gonna do if you have too many girls; “I will worry about that next year.”)
2. Don’t waste time on the past (Phil. 3:13-14)
“Brothers, I don not consider that I have already obtained all this, but one thing I do: forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I preass on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Paul made heaven the goal of his life! The Christian should be future focused in a sense: focused on heaven.
3) Some things are more important than others: Matt 6:25-33.

Seeking God and a life of faith are of highest importance!

4) Learning to say NO; to say yes to one thing is to say no to other things.

Often times we cannot say “NO” because of the fear of man; we are troubled by what folks may think of us (Proverbs 29:25).
FREE TIME and FREEDOM are two different things (Ryken)!

5) Time management is an issue of Wisdom:

John Bunyan on whether to flee Martyrdom: “There are few rules in this case; the man himself is best able to judge concerning his present strength, and what weight this or that argument has upon his heart to stand or fly.” Therefore, many times Christians will feel that they MUST devote much of their lives to a certain cause, but this does not mean that this is a rule for all. We also pass through different seasons of life which require attention to different priorities. We should consider the Biblical principles and make the best decision we can about how to spend our time.  

Romans 14:5 “...each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.”

“We have a suffocating sense of luxury and no sense at all of liberty. All the pleasure-hunters seem to be themselves hunted. All the children of fortune seem to be chained to the wheel. There is very little that really even pretends to be happiness in all this sort of harassed hedonism.” –G.K. Chesterton

6) Too much is too much! We are small, we have limited time, and limited energy; we need to sleep.

            Seminary Prof: “I am going to tell you to do something very spiritual; go home and eat a good meal and get some sleep.”

            Ex. 18:18 : we should not bear a weight that is too heavy; it is wise to admit when we can’t do something alone and ask for someone else to help bear the burden; Christians should make is a goal to try and bear one another’s burden’s when they see a load is too heavy (Galatians 6:2); also friendships are a very important source of help with time burdens (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12).

7) It is not spiritual to neglect our duties for so-called spiritual causes (1 Cor. 10:31)

            Ex. Failing to study your school work because you are going to too many Bible Studies

Sara Edwards (Jonathan Edwards Wife): “O, how good to work for God in the daytime and at night to lie down under his smiles.” Edwards went on to say: “worldly business should be attended with great alacrity (eagerness and joy).”

8) We are justified by faith alone in Christ alone: we must view time REDEMPTIVELY.

“How we think about time, and our use and abuse of time, should be govemed by who we are in Christ. In Christ, we have been justified by his grace. We are mercifully free of the pressure to achieve and succeed. There is nothing for us to contribute to our salvation except our need. The justified person is free from the pressure to do. How much of our time pressure arises from an irrational commitment to doing-that is, from a lingering commitment to good works? Unless we are doing, many of us feel we are 'wasting time'. Justification tells us that we are free from this. There is no time pressure in the Kingdom of God. We aren't let into heaven on the basis of our cost efficiency. There is nothing we have to 'do'. Our activism runs counter to our Evangelical emphasis on justification and grace.” -Tom Payne
Remember: righteous works are not wrong, but works righteousness is!!!

9. God and Time (see Leland Ryken: Redeeming the Time)

We are small finite: LIMITED IN TIME (James 4:14); we are not God; we do not have limitless time; we need to admit our limitations; admit our need for rest, for the help of others, and trust God with all the WE CAN”T DO in our limited time.
God is unlimited by time (ETERNAL; 1 Timothy 1:17), and is sovereign over time
*Time is God’s possession- he is sovereign over it and in control of it (Ecc. 3:17): remember we are the creature and he is the creator!
*Time is a Gift: even the tough times (Ecc. 7:14)- time is another area of stewsrdship given us by God; we must see our time and tasks as “Heaven Sent”
We cannot get everything done! We are limited, but we can accept what we have as a gift (Ecc. 5:19).

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