Doing more things faster is no substitute for doing the right things (Stephen Covey, First Things First).
We live, work, and minister in a 24/7 world today. Demands on your time come from every direction-family, friends, work, and church. How can you keep pace – how can you manage time? Here’s a big clue: time can’t be managed. The idea that you can manage something that is unchanging and fixed is almost ridiculous. But the very idea that you can manage time has been a staple of leadership development for years – and where has it gotten you? Have you ever thought about the expenditure of your time, and how it might be redirected from the urgent to the important?
You’ve probably heard of the phrase “the tyranny of the urgent.” That’s when a task calls for instant action – even when you had planned to do other, more important things. Crises, pressing problems, deadlines, meetings…church leaders know what the tyranny of the urgent is all about! While many things can’t be planned for and must be dealt with as they come up, many times important things become urgent through procrastination, or because we don’t do enough prevention and planning.
But what about the important things in life, work, and ministry? Things like relationship-building, meditation, planning and preparation for future events, skill development, mentoring, etc. How do they fit into your busy schedule – if at all?
God has given us many gifts – not the least of which is a whole new 24 hours each day. In Psalm 90:12, Moses (as he leads the children of Israel on a 40-year “tyranny of the urgent” exercise in futility) cries out to God:
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
We can employ the skills and principles of time management, use the latest technology to integrate our calendars into every aspect of our lives, and employ a better scheduling system. But all are of little benefit until we understand the value of time. We measure the value of time by how we spend it, not how we schedule it. Knowing the difference is wisdom!
Embracing our time on earth as a limited resource and a gift from God has incredible power to liberate us to attend to the really important things in our lives.
What time is it…for you?