I wrote this Word of Encouragement on Friday 21 June 2013, the shortest day, shortest in terms of daylight hours. I’m not making a case for finding more time to rush around doing more. Rather I’m calling for the wise use of time. Each of us has the same amount of time as the next person.
Last year I noticed a newspaper article announcing that Stephen Covey had died as a result of complications arising from a bicycle accident. Stephen was considered the pioneer of the self-help genre that aims at helping people live more productively. His most notable publication, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, was published in 38 languages and sold over 20 million copies.
Covey proposed a fourth generation of time management that recognised the challenge wasn’t to manage time, which we cannot do, but to manage ourselves. And one key to effectiveness is to give attention to our relationships.
In the light of Covey it’s interesting to note the response of Jesus, in Matthew 22:36-40, to the question from the expert in the law, “Teacher, ‘Which is the greatest commandment in the Law?’ Jesus replied, ‘Love the Lord you God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”
Jesus emphasised these two relationships, God and our neighbour, as critical for his followers. Does God feature in our diary? Does our neighbour – family, friends, colleagues, people we meet – feature in our diary?
The Apostle Paul has a timely reminder in Ephesians 5:15-17, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.”
Recently I was chatting to a person, from the USA, currently living in Australia. During our conversation I mentioned that a priority for me is to help people become followers of Jesus and when they do so to give them every encouragement along the way. I demonstrated how this priority is translated into action by recalling a recent period of three days, Sunday lunch with Lenin, a Filipino friend, Monday afternoon tutoring Glenn, who is completing a Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Tuesday morning tea with Gilbert, another Filipino friend, who is now an Aussie, Tuesday afternoon Bible Study with Neill, Shaun, Junette, Glenn and Colin, and last but not least an evening meal with Ace, another Filipino friend.
I am privileged to give encouragement to each and every one as fellow followers of Jesus.
My family is a key priority and after spending time with Glenn on the Monday afternoon I collected my lovely granddaughter, Abigail, from school then stayed with her and her big brother, Micah, for a time before heading home for the evening meal with my darling wife, Tricia.
The King James Version renders Ephesians 5:16 as “redeeming the time,” and Charles Swindoll in his book, Come Before Winter And… states, “Time must be purchased. We pay for it through selected activities and occupations, important or otherwise. And when it comes right down to it, the great difference, between one person and another, lies largely in his or her use of time. God’s timing for Christ’s return may very well occur before you tear one more sheet off the..calendar…and then again it may not. Ephesians 5:15-17 applies either way. Look at it this way: God’s part…the time of my Redeemer. My part…the redeeming of my time.”
2 Peter 3:9 states, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promises, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.”
And again, Hosea 10:12,“Sow righteousness for yourselves, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unploughed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers his righteousness on you.”