Many Christians struggle with making disciples. They feel busy, overwhelmed, and not qualified. We understand this struggle. That’s why we’ve poured 85+ years of experience and learning into creating a Bible-based framework for transferable discipleship so any believer can master the art of disciplemaking.
Right there, even in our very own tagline, sits those four letters – one word that everyone seems to be okay using: BUSY. Too busy. So busy. Overwhelmingly busy.
How did we get to this point?
We don’t really know, but we’re sure you’re feeling it. Work itself, layered by school schedules in full swing, family demands, church commitments and weighed down by the impending holiday melees… It’s a busy time of year. We’ve all been given 24 hours, no matter who we are, where we’re from, or what our job title is; so how can we use those “busy” 24 hours in a way that honors God?
We’ve committed to walking alongside you in this thing called discipleship. And we want to equip you so that you don’t feel “too busy” to pursue being a disciple of Christ and making disciples for Christ. That’s why we’re so excited about today’s blog! We’re going to walk you through some of the greatest Christian thinkers’ positions on time and time management, and then we have a great new resource on managing your time well. We hope it brings you to a place of better understanding how you can manage your time effectively!
How should we view time?
“Men are not angered by mere misfortune but my misfortune conceived as injury. And the sense of injury depends on the feeling that a legitimate claim has been denied. . . . nothing throws him into a passion so easily as to find a tract of time which he reckoned on having at his own disposal unexpectedly taken from him. It is the unexpected visitor (when he looked forward to a quiet evening), or the friend’s talkative wife (turning up when he looked forward to a tete-a-tete with the friend), that throw him out of gear. Now he is not yet so uncharitable or slothful that these small demands on his courtesy are in themselves too much for it. They anger him because he regards his time as his own and feels that it is being stolen. . . .
The man can neither make, nor retain, one moment of time; it all comes to him by pure gift; he might well regard the sun and moon as his chattels. He is also, in theory, committed to a total service of [Christ], and if [Jesus] appeared to him in bodily form and demanded that total service for even one day, he would not refuse. He would be greatly relieved if that one day involved nothing harder than listening to the conversation of a foolish woman; and he would be relieved almost to the pitch of disappointment if for one half-hour in that day [Jesus] said, ‘Now you may go amuse yourself.’ Now if he thinks about his assumption for a moment, even he is bound to realize that he is actually in this situation every day.” -C.S. Lewis
We must view time as not our own. We cannot make it or control it. Time is a gift from the Father!
“Those who sanctify time and who give time away — who treat time as a gift and not a possession — have time in abundance. Contrariwise, those who guard every minute, resent every interruption, ration every moment, never have enough. They’re always late, always behind, always scrambling, always driven. There is, of course, a place for wise management of our days and weeks and years. But management can quickly turn into rigidity. We hold time so tight we crush it, like a flower closed in the fist. We thought we were protecting it, but all we did was destroy it.” -Mark Buchanan
The world knows this – simply Google “most precious commodity” and you will see pages and pages of studies and articles about the value of time. Time is not only a gift, but a gift to be given away.
See: Proverbs 16:9, 27:1; Psalm 90:2; James 4:13-15
How should we use our time?
“My busy life was robbing me of my most precious relationships — my time with the Lord and my family. When it dawned on me that the highlight of my day was falling into bed at night, I knew I needed to change the way I was living. . . . I was doing a lot of good things, but they were taking the place of the most important. I needed to abide — to stay connected to the Lord by taking His yoke and walking with Him throughout each day.
Abiding is not an activity; it is a lifestyle. It is reordering my whole perspective on life so that my sole purpose is to live simply and purely in devotion to the Lord. It is letting the Lord be my Shepherd who leads me along right paths. It is seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness. It is being still and waiting patiently for the Lord by spending special time with Him, sitting at His feet, and reading His Word. Abiding allows the Lord to bring interesting people, worthy activities, and valuable things into my life in the right way, at the right time, and for His purposes.Because the Lord is my Shepherd I am prompted to prune activities and eliminate hindrances that would draw me away from Christ.” -Cynthia Heald
First and foremost, we must surrender our time to the Father, submitting back the gift first given to us. Instead of trying to do more and more, we must quiet our hearts before Him and allow Him to direct our steps.
“We simplify, not just to be less busy, even though we may be right to pursue that. Rather, we simplify to remove distractions from our pursuit of Christ. We prune activities from our lives, not only to get organized, but also that our devotion to Christ and service for His Kingdom will be more fruitful. We simplify, not merely to save time, but to eliminate hindrances to the time we devote to knowing Christ. All the reasons we simplify should eventually lead us to Jesus.” -Donald S. Whitney
Secondly, choosing to simplify not only our responsibilities but also our material belongings — everything in our care — allows us to prune what tempts our attention away from Jesus so we’re better able to focus on Him and serve Him more freely as He leads.
“‘I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit’ [John 6:33]. Death and resurrection. The paradox of it breaks into me afresh: unless we die, unless we surrender, unless we sacrifice, we remain alone. Lonely. But if we die, if we surrender, if we sacrifice, that is when we experience the abundance, that is when we dance in communion. The life that yields the most — yields the most. . . . I wonder if I’ve had this all wrong. When I’ve thought of time, I’ve thought of it as something to seize, to try to capture, or that’s captured and stolen from us, and I’d try to slow it down before it steals away. I’ve thought of time as something you have to wring the very most out of, drain to the last drop. Carpe diem, people, carpe diem. . .
But all through Scripture, Jesus speaks of time as the highway by which we have come to die — so we can ultimately get to more abundant life. Time isn’t something you seize; it’s something you sacrifice. It’s not something to grab; it’s something to give. . . . Maybe temporary time is made for dying to self — so your eternal self can really live. It takes courage to listen with our whole heart to the tick of God’s timing rather than march to the loud beat of our fears.
Time can’t dictate dreams or hijack hope or determine destination. It can’t force us into living anything but what we believe. No matter what the hands of the clock say, underneath us all are the everlasting arms, and time’s arms are too weak to rob any hope, steal any prayers, destroy any joy, or crush any purpose. Time never heals wounds like God does. It’s God hands that control the universe. The hands of the clock are bound by the decisions of our hands. And He has made our hands free to be His.” -Ann Voskamp
Finally, the Father has given us the sweet gift of time, and like every gift He has given, He wants it to be actively used for the good of the people around us, and for His glory. Sometimes, this will require sacrifice on our part: sacrifice of our wishes, desires, plans, and occasionally even our needs.
See: 1 John 2:17; John 9:4, 15:4-5; Ephesians 5:15-17
How should we maintain our time?
“It has been well said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It is when tomorrow’s burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear. Never load yourselves so . . . If you find yourselves so loaded, at least remember this: it is your own doing, not God’s. He begs you to leave the future to him, and mind the present.” -George MacDonald
First, we must be careful to prioritize today over tomorrow, never worrying about tomorrow’s burdens, but submitting ourselves to God’s time management.
“When first things are put first, second things are not suppressed but increased.” -C.S. Lewis
Second, we must discipline ourselves to pursue the most important – not the most urgent – things first. Time with Jesus is an absolute essential every day!
“In David’s case, his battles were won in his private times of worship with the Lord. David had many responsibilities, and there were many demands upon his time; but his number one priority was seeking God’s face. . . . Without satisfying worship, there can be no successful warfare.” -Warren Wiersbe
Finally, let us take time to worship the Lord! Praise enthrones His rule, and the more time we take to praise Him, the better we’re able to see our time and schedule from His perspective.
See: Matt. 6:25-34, 11:28-30; Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 4:11-13
Ready for that “full schedule” to be full of the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Ready to stop answering with an empty “busy” and start answering with a “busy about my Father’s work”? You can experience an eternally significant schedule! Ready to take that next step?
Download our printable resource to help you get started!