Time management has always been challenging for me. I can’t count the number of times I’ve designed and redesigned schedules. I don’t stick to any of them very long. A schedule feels like a straight-jacket. A restriction that blocks my creativity. Yet, I know my time on earth is limited.
The Psalmist said, “the days of our life . . . contain seventy years, or if due to strength, eighty years”(Psalm 90:10). God has blessed me with eighty years. I want to make the best use of whatever years, days, hours, and moments my generous God continues to give to me.
If schedules don’t work for me, is there a different way for me to manage time?
Part of the answer to my prayer/question came this week in the words of Dallas Willard. In his book, The Allure of Gentleness, he talks about the concept of redeeming the time, a phrase used in the book of Ephesians. To redeem something means to cash in, by back, make useful. How can we make the best use of time? Willard’s answer: “by interacting with God where you are”!
Interacting with God means having a 24/7 conversation with Jesus. Isn’t that exciting? It’s another aspect of practicing the presence of God. By keeping that conversation going, I’m able within the boundaries of time to love God and love my neighbor as myself. Is there any better use of time than that?
Does this mean I can forget about schedules? No. I still schedule my various activities, but as the following poem says, I don’t watch the hands of the clock. I watch Jesus.
The clock moves on . . .
but God is still.
Hurried flesh knows not his will.
Like Mary, we must turn aside,
give up pride,
leave our projects,
choose to wait.
We cannot love unless we hate.
We cannot live unless we die.
God will not rule
while we still try.
He will not force us to repent . . .
but soon our days
will all be spent.
Jesus waits . . .
time hurries on.
Choose Jesus now before time’s gone.
2002 Jane Ault
Time is for loving
Time is for caring
Time is for doing God’s will.
Time is for learning
Time is for growing
Time just never stands still.
Time is for daring
Time is for risking
Time is for choosing a yes or a no.
Time is for hoping
Time is for dreaming
Sometimes, time seems too slow.
Time is for singing
Time is for dancing
Time is for praising the Lord.
Time is for sowing
Time is for reaping
Time is for saying a word.
Time is for crying
Time is for weeping
Time is for healing my pain.
Time is for now
Time is for using
Love, done in time, remains.
1995 Jane Ault
Thank you, Jane, for this “timely” reflection! I think of the idea of timeliness as Jesus understood it, kairos time. It’s wonderful to be reminded that he does everything beautifully in his time, and if we are, as you say, continually attentive to him, we will flow, and all our activities will find their proper place, either within, or in spite of, our schedules.
I did wonder what you meant by the line, “We cannot love unless we hate”?
Thank you for your comment, Jean. Yes, it’s wonderful that God does everything at the time most appropriate and needed. He’s never too late and never too early. That Jesus lived within the boundaries of time and accomplished everything he was called to do is amazing.
The “We cannot love unless we hate” line of my poem refers to concepts such as the following: we cannot love good unless we hate evil. And “no one, [as Jesus said], can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and be enslaved to money” (Luke 16:13 NLT).
What a great reflection, Jane. I love your wisdom, born of many years of life experience. It’s all in living in the tension between scheduled time and being present in the moment, isn’t it?
Thank you, Rhonda. Yes, it is a challenge to live in “the tension between scheduled time and the being present in the moment”. This morning, during a phone call, I felt my schedule calling me to hurry. Instead, I turned my attention back to Jesus and received peace to listen for a few more minutes in an unhurried way. The Spirit blessed me with patience. I am so thankful for his presence.
Well I am nearly 70 so your reflection was lovely. I found just by changing the question from. What time is it? To What is it time for? Brings peace and the presence of God back to awareness.
I love schedules and am very organized but all changes quickly with a phone call like this morning. Thanks for all your wonderful reflections.
You are welcome, Linda. How lovely to hear from you! Thank you for your comment this morning. I like your addition of the word ‘for’ in the question “What time is it?”. Connecting with God is relevant for all times, isn’t it!