By Janet Thompson, Crosswalk.com
If you’ve ever had a life-altering emergency arise, and really, who hasn’t, you know the value of being prepared for the unexpected. Your life can change in a moment, maybe forever. The same can happen to our day. We all wake up with expectations for how we will spend the day, but a phone call, car trouble, sudden illness, or emergency can drastically disrupt those plans.
Or maybe you’re the kind of person who would rather just let the day happen and see where it leads you. Plans seem too restrictive for you.
God made us each different but the one thing we all share in common is the same number of hours, minutes, and seconds in a day, days in a week, and weeks in a year. Not one of us gets an hour longer to accomplish our tasks or an extra day to meet a deadline. Time doesn’t bend to our desires or needs, but it’s also one of our greatest gifts from God. Not only did He give us life, He gave us time to enjoy it! But wisely, he also gave us guidelines for how to spend this most precious commodity. So let’s explore the question: What does the Bible say about time management?
Why Is Managing Our Time Important?
“I’m just killing time” is a common but lethal phrase! Mindlessly wasting irretrievable time is self-destructive. Since each day is a gift from God, and no one knows how many days he’s going to grant us, shouldn’t we want to make the most of every moment we have here on earth?
You might be an early riser capturing the first rays of sunrise, or like me, I never want the sun to go down because it signals the end of another day. Not that we can’t still have evening hours to spend after sundown, but closing the window blinds signifies to me that the day is just about over. I live in Idaho where the sun stays out until 10:30 PM in the summer and I relish those long days to pack in as much productivity or activity as I can while there’s still sunlight.
Sleep is important and designed by God for our body to rest and refuel for at least eight hours a day. But what we do with the remaining sixteen hours of a twenty-four day is our choice. Many will work or go to school another eight hours and then determine how to utilize whatever “free time” remains.
We all have the same number of hours each day, but we don’t all have the same number of hours in a lifetime. Every day, every minute we make choices as to how we will spend our gift of a moment—and when it’s gone, we can never get it back. It’s sobering to look back at our day sometimes and see the wasted time, the killed time.
Everyone has numerous responsibilities and yes distractions vying for our time and attention. How often have we said we just don’t have time to read the Bible daily, call a hurting friend, join a Bible study group, play a game with our children or grandchildren . . . maybe even go to church. I’m so busy or I don’t have time can become a familiar mantra or even excuse. But we’re all probably guilty of making time to mindlessly scroll on social media, surf the computer, watch television . . . I think you would agree we find a way to make the time for anything that’s important to us. God wants us to make him and his Word important.
In our morning prayers, before we rush into our day, it would be wise to ask God how he wants us to manage this day.
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/Olga PS
What Does the Bible Say about Time Management?
1. Live Daily with Eternity in Mind and Heart
No one knows the number of his or her days. Only God! So the Bible continuously tells us to make the most of the time we have on earth to have an impact on the kingdom and to also share Jesus in our daily lives. That should be our primary goal. The world puts a priority on acquiring and achieving while the Christian’s priority should be on living for the glory of God as a witness and testimony to God’s goodness and saving grace. Always seeking God’s will for how we fill our valuable time.
C. S. Lewis understood God’s plan for every Christian’s time management: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”
Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. Eph. 5:15-17 NRSV
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Ps. 90:12
Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Ecc. 3:11 NLT
2. Don’t Procrastinate
God speaks through prayer, the Bible, and the Holy Spirit to help us avoid stress, worry, and disappointment by acting on the thoughts and directions we discern from him for each new day’s activities. When we know there’s something we need to accomplish, the Bible instructs us to make plans to do it in a timely way and not at the last minute or it might never get done or won’t be our best effort. Procrastination is the enemy of accomplishment.
Don’t brag about tomorrow, since you don’t know what the day will bring. Prov. 27:1 NLT
Don’t put it off; do it now! Don’t rest until you do. Prov. 6:4 NLT
James even calls procrastination a sin and emphasizes that while it’s good to have long-term plans and goals, always have a backup plan!
Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it. James 4:17 NLT
Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. James 4:13-14 NLT
Lazy people want much but get little, but those who work hard will prosper. Prov. 13:4
3. Don’t Overcommit
Another way the Bible talks about time management is through the decisions we make to not overcommit. The season of life you’re in right now will determine how and where you allot your time. If you’re raising a family, you may be juggling many activities and obligations so it’s important for your own sanity that you have a schedule and not try to just “wing it” through your days. You also need to determine when you might need to say no to something that sounds really good, but overlaps all your other obligations. Today, we can put those schedules on our computer or cell phone and it’s easy to check if we’re available or not. Saying “no” is actually biblical but saying “yes” and then backing out at the last minute isn’t a good practice for Christians.
Just say a simple, ‘Yes, I will,’ or ‘No, I won’t.’ Anything beyond this is from the evil one. Matt. 5:37 NLT
4. Balance Work and Rest
Refreshing rest and exercise are essential for good health so we don’t want to neglect scheduling these into our lives. The Bible also warns against laziness so we need to pray for wisdom in not becoming a workaholic but also not sleeping away the days neglecting our responsibilities.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matt. 11:28
Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Prov. 10:4
All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. Prov. 14:23
Bible Verses to Encourage Us to Manage Our Time Well
Now that we’ve gone over what the Bible says about time management, here are some specific verses to encourage us. As with everything in the Bible, God isn’t trying to make our life harder, he wants us to live stress-free while meeting our obligations without worry and frustration. Making plans, having a backup plan, organization, and managing our time wisely can help us prepare for each new day’s knowns and unknowns.
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Prov. 16:9
The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty. Prov. 21:5
Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom. Ps. 90:12 NLT
But I am trusting you, O Lord, saying, “You are my God!” My future is in your hands. Ps. 31:14-15 NLT
For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven. Ecc. 3:1 NLT
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. Ecc. 3:11
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. James 1:5
Thank You Lord for Time
Every night, my husband prays, “Thank you Lord for another day of life.�� We appreciate that God saw us through another day and hopefully we served him well. But tomorrow is a brand new day with new possibilities, new surprises, and new opportunities to glorify the Lord with our energy, actions, and speech.
God created balance and he didn’t mean for it to be elusive. The Bible is an instruction manual on balanced living. Spending time in God’s Word and with him is the answer to achieving God-ordained time management. Our days and our time do not belong to us; they belong to God! Sometimes he will bring interruptions into our life to remind us of who is in control.
Give each day to the Lord, ask him to direct you in the ways you should go, and then live daily for the glory of God.
Commit everything you do to the Lord. Trust him, and he will help you. Ps. 37:5 NLT
Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life. Ps. 143:8
Photo Credit: ©Getty Images/toeytoey2530
Janet Thompson is an international speaker, freelance editor, and award-winning author of 20 books. Her passion is to mentor other women in sharing their life experiences and God’s faithfulness. Janet’s new release is Everyday Brave: Living Courageously As a Woman of Faith available at Amazon, Christianbook.com, Barnes and Noble, and signed at author’s website. She is also the author of Mentoring for All Seasons: Sharing Life Experiences and God’s Faithfulness; Forsaken God? Remembering the Goodness of God Our Culture Has Forgotten; Dear God, Why Can’t I Have a Baby?; Dear God They Say It’s Cancer; Dear God, He’s Home!; Praying for Your Prodigal Daughter; Face-to-Face Bible study Series; and Woman to Woman Mentoring: How to Start, Grow, & Maintain a Mentoring Ministry Resources. Janet is the founder of Woman to Woman Mentoring and About His Work Ministries. Visit Janet and sign up for her weekly blog and free online newsletter at womantowomanmentoring.com. Join Janet on Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, and Instagram.