My life is half over by all estimation and while on one side it’s a half-full glass the other hand reveals a very depressing reality: I have wasted much of it. I have wasted my life on meaningless endeavors, invested in idols that have never paid a return, and breaded the meal of the flesh too many times to count only to be burned and held nothing in the end. I have so many things, seasons, moments, and dreams that will never be as it relates to my marriage, my children, and God’s people – and in retrospect, I am satisfied. Why? Because while I wish I had labored differently, I do have today.
This day is a gift from God and it is honorable not to waste it but to redeem the time.
Redeeming the time is not to catch up on past waste, but to manage what is mine at this moment and be a Christ-filled steward of it. Here are a few thoughts from my journal as of late:
- With actual minutes and seconds: knowing that I have just moments in each day I resolve that it belongs to the Lord who created it for His glory. Remaining mindful of this, filled with time in the word and prayer, I pray He will honor my time and help me use it wisely. Remember, God can do more with nothing than I can do with everything, so I need no MORE TIME, I just need HIM!
- Thoughts are my worst enemy. So I must put to death thoughts that carry me away from my Lord.
- Fleshly pursuits are not just greed, idolatry, and sin, but also measuring my “needs” incorrectly and spending time on worthless s0-called enjoyable things that result in no fruitfulness. This can include idleness, misaligned study, youtube, Facebook, text messages, tv shows, music, books, etc. We must pay attention to these things.
- Invest in the GOAL, not the rest stops. This means that I should not spend time redeeming memories and lessons of life with my kids, but knowing that my role and most vital part of their lives is feeding them the truth, showing them Christ, and walking with them into adulthood as Christ’s siblings together. We often spend countless hours fretting about the “steps” and “memories” thinking they matter, but they don’t. The End Does!
- Praying more for the Lord’s help, use, and purpose in all things gives me the perspective I need. So, if I am talking with someone about life, then I pray the Lord would help me hear them and HIM so that I may respond seasoned with saltiness, not worthlessness.
- Investing in what is clearly eternal. Time, friends, events, travel, etc. Is it worth it? What matters for all eternity? Invest in those things; they bring the greatest joy and the highest reward. For me, I write, think, pray, sing, listen to the Lord’s word, invest in others’ lives, and pray the Lord would put me in the lives of others while not WORRYING about anything. (Of course, I cannot do this… so the Lord must do it in me!)
- STOP TIME MANAGEMENT – At all costs! Many years ago my time management actually had to be scheduled. NOW, I live by boundaries and goals that NEVER change, ever. Period. I put the phone down at certain times, period. I won’t look at emails until it is time. Period. I refuse to alter some things, and I refuse to be a slave to the time management, leadership development cult machine. It is not good, but boundaries are. When we live with boundaries we are more apt and able to invest in the lives of others, especially in a crisis. See my thoughts on Pastoral Ministry boundaries here.
- I often pray and say in my heart continually something like this, and it is my prayer this day…
Oh, how this day must be gleaned for an opportunity that will shine the brightest light on the glory of God in all things! May this moment be expanded toward eternity by sharing, speaking, and savoring the supernatural radiance of the magnificence of the Lord’s Light through the Son Jesus Christ in all conversations, all thoughts, all meditations, all time, all labor, and all matters. While we cannot make up for the time that we’ve lost, relationships that we’ve mismanaged, and opportunities that have fleeted, the time is now to exult in Christ Jesus. After all, there is nothing greater and nothing more powerful to pull two people together with an intimacy that surpasses the logic of the greatest mind.
So for you: Run to the Lord Jesus, cry for His power upon you, be filled with all His fullness, pray for others’ joy and peace, and labor unto that end until the Lord returns or until the breath in our lungs has passed. Either way, it is a joyous and meaningful tarry. Maranatha!