Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview

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Time Management: Not Working Harder, But Smarter

I had the opportunity to lead a group through a session on time management in our local NXTGEN Pastor’s Cohort (a small group of seminary students that is outside of the classroom or internship, that meets monthly to grow in six soft skills categories).  Much of the material in this article was adapted from that module.
We have all heard about time management, but what is it really and why is it important? In our session we learned that:
“As Christians, we should be managing our time because it is not ours. Just as we should think of our possessions and money as on loan to us from God, so is our time. Time management is important because God calls us to be good stewards of all that he has entrusted to us. But time management is not just learning how to cram more into an already life. Time management is about balance in life.”
We learned that:
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Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor

Redeeming Your Time: 7 Biblical Principles for Being Purposeful, Present, and Wildly Productive by Jordan Raynor. WaterBrook. 240 pages. 2021

Like me, you may have already read a few books about productivity. I’ve read good books by Tim Challies and Matt Perman, and recently read Redeeming Your Time by Jordan Raynor (Called to Create, Master of One), which I commend to you.
Raynor tells us that the solution to our struggle with time management is found in Jesus Christ. He tells us that Jesus offers us peace before we do anything, and also that Jesus shows us how God would manage his time. Because he was infallible God, we can assume that Jesus managed his time perfectly, providing us with the ideal model to follow.  As far as what makes this book different from other time management/productivity books you’ve read, the author tells us that this book:

  • Accounts for how the Author of time managed his time.
  • Seeks to collect and connect the previously disconnected pieces of the time management puzzle.
  • Attempts to strike a unique balance between the theological, the theoretical, and the tactical. 

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Leader, You Own Your Calendar

I was never one of those leaders who was able to get my work done in the
standard work hours that our organization had. I found myself coming in early, staying late, and working weekends. That became more of a problem when you could work from home with laptop computers, and even more so when you could access your work email on your smart phone. If fact, years ago, the leader of our large IT department told me that we don’t have any standard work hours any longer. By that time, the work day had expanded and became part of our non-work life.
What are you to do when you want to be more productive and demonstrate better time management so that you will have more time for family, ministry, friends and hobbies? Continue reading

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3 Things to Consider on How to Use Our Time

Stephen Covey quoteTime. We all have the same amount of it, 24 hours a day and 168 each week. But how do we assure we are spending our time on the most important things?

Often when I ask someone how they are doing, they reply “Busy!” It seems like everyone is busy these days.

I recently read Matt Fuller’s new book Time for Every Thing?: How to be Busy without Feeling Burdened. He states that many of us feel a famine of time, never having enough to accomplish all our goals, and constantly dashing from one thing to the next. But, he goes on to state that the Bible encourages us to see time not as a wretched commodity that we never have enough of, but rather as a gift.

This got me to thinking about how we spend our time. Fuller tells us that Jesus calls us to make the most of the time that we have been given by Him, to be used for Him. We will always have 24 hours each day. What Fuller asks us to do is change how our heart views those hours.

We all have different things that take up our time. Some of us have young children, some have children who are involved in traveling sports teams, while some have very demanding jobs that take much time. Fuller tells us that the fundamental question that all of us need to ask about the time that we have been given is:

What changes should I make in order to maximize my faithfulness in serving the Lord with the time He has given me?

Here are three things to consider in relation to that question:

  1. Pray about how to best use your gifts, talents and strengths. My friend Dustin epitomizes what Jeff Goins refers to in his book The Art of Work as a portfolio of callings. Dustin has many areas of giftedness, and uses them in his callings as a leader at work and church, someone who frequently fills pulpits, a coach, personal trainer, and the owner of a business. Oh, yes, he is also a husband and a father. Now, before you get overwhelmed and defeated as you compare yourself to Dustin, understand that as Fuller tells us, we can’t do everything that we desire to do, and need to give up trying. But he states, we can enjoy the time God has given us and usefully serve Him. Do you pray about how to steward your gifts and the time you’ve been given? How do you determine what to take on, and what to say “no” to?
  2. Be on the same page as your spouse. My wife Tammy has always said that when you take on “one more thing”, something is going to suffer. It may be relationships that suffer, the quality of your work, or possibly the amount of sleep you get. Fuller writes that restful, uninterrupted sleep is a beautiful thing and a gift from God, for example. But make no mistake about it, if you take on something new and don’t give something up, something, or someone, is going to suffer. In addition to praying about this, as I mentioned above, you need to be on the same page with the ones who matter most to you and will be most impacted by you taking on something additional. Do you make it a habit of consulting with your spouse on important decisions about your time? Why or why not?
  3. Manage your calendar well. My wife and I love to have non-committed weekends. That’s a good way to get refreshed and recharged after a busy and demanding week. And I know that I tend to get irritable if I’m overly committed, even if the activities are something I enjoy like a ballgame or a trip.

Mark Miller, in his article titled The Irrational Power of the Calendar, writes that few things in life have greater power than our calendars. He states that they drive where we go, how long we stay, where we invest our time and energy, dictate what we will not do, confirm our real priorities, document our weaknesses and magnify our values. Tammy and I have made a practice of not making any commitments without talking to each other. Do you do something similar with your spouse? This has worked well for us, and it is something that I would recommend to you as well.

Each day, we’re only given a limited amount of time and energy, and we want to use it in the best way to honor the Lord. I would recommend you check out Fuller’s book. He looks at several different areas of life – work, church, family and leisure, and tries to discern what we should do in those areas in order to be faithful and obedient to God and to address the question I mentioned above:

What changes should I make in order to maximize my faithfulness in serving the Lord with the time He has given me?