Time is one of the many resources given to us by God. He
divided day from night, marked the seven days of the week by his
creative activities, and the seasons by the rotation of the earth.
And as with all resources, he expects us to make good use of it.
However, for much of my life, I took this expectation too
seriously. I never expected to live very long, and I felt driven, in
the words of the poet, to â€œfill the unforgiving minute with sixty
seconds worth of distance run.â€� I was preoccupied with being
occupied, while neglecting much that was more important. My
calendar was crammed, and my life lived on the run.
As Iâ€™ve grown older, Iâ€™ve been surprised to hear a few
comments Iâ€™ve never heard before in regard to myself. â
€œYouâ€™re always so calmâ€� took me by surprise when I
often feel frantic. And â€œYouâ€™re so patientâ€� referred to
a virtue I never identified with.
No, I havenâ€™t retired. And Iâ€™ve seldom taken more than
a weekâ€™s vacation. But I scarcely ever miss an appointment--
or a deadline. Time is still important to me, but Iâ€™ve begun to
put it in its place. Think of it as fresh water from the mouth of a
river pouring into the vast ocean. I live as a creature with one foot
in fresh water, the other in salt; one foot in time, the other in
Consider the words associated with time. Thereâ€™s
temporary, lasting for a limited time, and temporal, â€œof or
relating to time as opposed to eternity.â€� Our lives are lived
both in time and in eternity, both in this present life of hours and
weeks and years and in Godâ€™s all-encompassing presence and
This gives our lives a different rhythm from that of the person
striving merely for temporal success.
Still, most of us have to be at work on time and fill the time while
weâ€™re there with productive activities. We still have events in
our lives to celebrate and things we want and need to accomplish
at home. And we have broader lives in our church community and
These demands call us to manage our time wisely and well. Here
are a few specific suggestions that work for me:
1. Consolidate all your dates and notes on projects into one
calendar for home and work. Carry it back and forth, to
meetings, on weekends. Iâ€™ve kept a Pocket Day-Timer for
years. I keep it in an open side pocket in my purse, and I always
buy purses that have that pocket. That way I always have dates,
lists, addresses and phone numbers at hand.
2. Set up a sensible filing system thatâ€™s easy to access. I add
hanging folders and manila file folders to every drawer and file
cabinet I use, both at home and at work. Theyâ€™re cheaper
than the colored ones, and I use a lot. But many people love to
color coordinate and donâ€™t mind spending the extra money.
Throw away files you no longer use to save time and space.
3. Routines are time savers. I can do my morning routine--put
away the clean dishes and set the table, check email and weather
report, plan my day and write in my journal, get out clothes and
shower and dress, pack lunches and leave for work--almost in my
4. Choose only that technology that saves you time and simplifies
your life. I use the microwave, computer, email and phone, but I
donâ€™t have a cell phone. Other people will make very
different choices. The risk is to think you have to have it all, and
the latest model. Weed down to what works.
Jesus is our example of simplicity in time use. He never felt frantic,
never broke the speed limit, but he accomplished more in a short
life than most of us can dream of. Read his life from the book of
Mark (it doesnâ€™t take long), and see how he lived a full life on
earth while living in the presence of God.