The smell of autumn is in the air as the season transitions from the supposedly “lazy days of summer” into the crisp days of fall with its stunning colors and abundant harvest. It’s the season of back to school and booked up calendars in the busy family life where it seems like there is never enough time to fit it all in.
The necessities of daily living compete with school schedules, work commitments, family responsibilities, sports, dance, band, bible class, Sunday worship…the list goes on, and the continuing question of how to fit it all in with only 24 hours in a day (and everyone needs to sleep) is a challenge.
Truly, time is the essence of this life and regardless of your life situation, there will always be more things to fill up your time than there is time available to be filled. It would be priceless indeed if there was a simple solution that would rid us of this common problem.
The reality is that each of us has to choose what we will do with the precious time we have. Without a solid foundation that informs our choices, we may find ourselves dealing with the apparently urgent and being distracted from the truly important, even eternal matters. How we set our priorities will determine what makes it onto our schedules and what is cast out as unnecessary.
The phrase “Time is of the essence” is used in contract law and means that whoever is fulfilling the contract doesn’t have limitless amounts of time to get around to it. As Christians, we have a covenant (contract) with God through Jesus, and this relationship ought to command our priorities and ultimately set our schedules. Thankfully, the scriptures can give us help in the critical task of determining how we “invest” and “spend” our time.
In Matthew 6:25-33, Jesus gives us some priorities in order of importance. He tells us to get rid of our worry over food and clothes, and instead focus on our relationship with God as the first priority.
“Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:31-33
Setting our priorities should result in schedules that reflect our purpose and commitment, based on the order of importance. Jesus is our role model and demonstrates in his life the best example to follow in learning how to set our priorities. Our task is to become more like Jesus.*
“Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” Ephesians 5:1-2
As we make choices based on our priorities of loving God, living by his kingdom rules, and becoming more like Jesus, our lives will reflect this intentional seeking after God’s kingdom in our words and actions.
“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” Ephesians 5:15-17
“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:5-6
At the end of the day, we can rest in the knowledge that when we seek to follow God and his ways, our time has been invested well and our future is secure.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” 1 Corinthians 15:58
*We invite you to join us at Linder Road for our annual lectureship as we “Witness Jesus” October 10-13, 2019.