Investing Time - Girlfriends in God - October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014
Investing Time
Mary Southerland

Today’s Truth

Teach us to make the most of our time, so that we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12, NLT).

Friend to Friend

I once read an African proverb, “Lord Jesus, make my heart sit down.” The first time I read those words, I immediately thought of my husband who often says, “Honey, it really is okay for you to sit down and rest.” I tend to work myself into what my mama called a “tizzy.”

I have back problems … but sometimes pride myself on how much pain I can handle … instead of doing what I need to do. Rest.

I struggle with clinical depression every single day … but have been known to ignore the warning signs that it is time for me to stop, be still, and rest.

I have to admit that I struggle with the idea of rest. For years, I measured my worth by how much I did and how well I did those things. Then I crashed and burned. God simply shut the door, turned out the light, and said, “Enough!” For two years, I sat at the bottom of a deep dark pit of clinical depression. I learned many important lessons during that time, and discovered countless valuable truths – one of which was my innate need for solitude and rest.

Solitude is deliberately and diligently setting aside time to “sit down” at the feet of Jesus. It is in those still, quiet moments of solitude at His feet that we can more clearly hear God speak. There we find strength and direction for the journey ahead. I also learned that in order to practice solitude, I needed a new perspective on time. In short, I needed to learn how to budget my time and invest it wisely – instead of carelessly spending it.

We are all responsible for how we spend the time God has given us. Time is a precious gift. Every morning we are credited with 86,400 seconds. No balance is carried into the next day, and every night erases what we fail to use. If we use it in the wrong way, that time is lost forever and cannot be reclaimed. Un-budgeted time gravitates to our weaknesses, is stolen by others, or wasted on the unimportant. We must budget time, just as Jesus did.

Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men (Luke 2:52, NIV).

At the age of 12, Jesus traveled to Jerusalem with His parents for the annual Passover Celebration. When His parents began the long trip home, they did not miss their son. When they realized Jesus was not with them, they assumed He was traveling with friends. He wasn’t. Jesus was teaching in the temple. My first reaction would probably have been pride in the fact that religious scholars and teachers were actually listening to my young son. I would most likely have encouraged Jesus to continue, basking in the looming recognition and acclaim. Instead, Jesus returned home where - for 18 to 20 years - He simply grew and matured mentally, physically, spiritually, and socially. Then He began His ministry, the most powerful ministry ever known. In other words, Jesus Christ budgeted His time wisely, resulting in a balanced life of fulfilled purpose. We can live the same kind of life - if our priorities are right.

We need to set priorities and make sure they line up with God’s plan and purpose for our lives. Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “there is a time for everything, a season for every activity under heaven.” If we don’t set life priorities, other people will.

We need to schedule priorities - setting aside chunks of time for the important things in life. Ecclesiastes 8:5-6 warns, “For a wise heart knows the proper time and procedure. For there is a proper time and procedure for every delight.” Solitude - time alone with God does not just happen. We have to make it happen.

We must also stick to our priorities. The apostle Paul teaches us to “make the most of every opportunity” (Ephesians 5:16). Every challenge will either wreck our priorities or affirm them. Right priorities stand firm in the face of change.

One day, we will all stand before the Father and give an account of how we invested our time. Today, examine your time management habits in light of eternity. Initiate schedule changes that honor God. Make a new commitment to invest your time wisely.

Let’s Pray

Father, I recognize my need for time alone with You. I lay down my schedule, my agenda, and anything else in my life that would keep me from that time. Please forgive me for the way I often squander away the minutes, hours, and days of my life. Give me the power to invest time wisely.

In Jesus’ name,

Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

Memorize Psalm 37:7 that says, “Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for Him” (NIV). What is God saying to you about solitude? Grab your journal and record your thoughts.

More from the Girlfriends

Need help with time management? Check out Mary’s E-Study, Time: Friend or Foe, for practical ways to invest your time wisely. And be sure to connect with Mary on Facebook or through email.

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