Biblical Principles of Time Management
Yeah, I know what a lot of you who know me are thinking: “… Greg, teaching on time management – this I’ve got to hear/read …”! Read on please!
A couple of weeks ago, we started to look in Ephesians 5 where, Paul says this, “Live life with a due sense of responsibility, not as those who don’t know the meaning and purpose of life but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the difficulties of these days.”
God says that He wants you to use your time wisely because you know the meaning and purpose of life — that this life is getting ready for the next. God says “let those purposes that I have for your life guide and determine how you use your time — make the best use of it!”
Last week we summarized everything God says in the Bible about time management with three things:
1. The Bible teaches that time management is actually life management.
2. The second thing that God says about time is that the problem isn’t time.
That’s the bad news. Now here’s the good news.
3. The good news is that time management can be learned.
That’s good because it means that most people aren’t just naturally good at managing their time. But, it’s something you can learn. The Bible says this in Psalm 90 “Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are. Help us to spend them as we should.” You can be taught how to be far more effective with your time.
So, here we go – this morning, we’re going to look at biblical principles of time management.
In Ephesians 5, the apostle Paul gives us four steps in how to manage your time and make your life more effective. He says you need to analyze, you need to prioritize, you need to economize, and you need to utilize.
1. First Paul says if you’re going to get control of your time in life the first thing you have to do is analyze your life style.
He says this in v.15 “Look carefully at how you live! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise but as wise, sensible, intelligent people.” God says I want you to be sensible - wise in the way that you manage your time. Look carefully at your life; analyze your lifestyle. If you want to save time, you’ve got to figure out where you’re losing it first. You’ve got to discover the leaks.
There’s only one way to do this. What you need to do for awhile is you need to keep a time log. You need to write down and record where you spent your time and how much time it took.
Then after you’ve done that, the second part of it, is you ask yourself the tough questions and you look at that and you say things like “Is this the best use of my time? Is God pleased with how I’m using my time?” You ask yourself the tough questions. This is what it means to look carefully at your life. That’s step one. You can’t figure out what to do with your time until first you know where it’s going. You analyze your lifestyle. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready for step two.
2. Then, you prioritize what’s important.
Once you know where your time is going, now, you can prioritize where you want it to go. God is saying that I want you to focus your time, and your energy on My will for your life. What is God’s will for you? What does He want you to do with your life?
God has THREE MAIN PURPOSES for your life; we use all kinds of words for them. If you’ve ever read The Purpose-Driven Life, by Rick Warren, or gone thru a 40 Days of Purpose Campaign (based on the same book) you know he talks about five purposes - about worship, discipleship, fellowship, ministry and evangelism. Well, I usually like to “narrow down” those five purposes to three – worship, discipleship and service – upward, inward, outward. Here’s another way of saying the same thing we’ve heard for years … that God has three things He wants you to do with your life:
The number one purpose God has for your life is to Know. He wants you to know who He really is. If you don’t get anything else done that’s the first purpose in life. Get to know the creator who made you. The Bible word for that is Worship. Worship is getting to know and love God. The direction of our energies are upward.
The second thing God wants you to do with your life is He wants you to Grow. He wants you to grow in that love for Him. He wants you to grow to be like Jesus; to grow in spiritual maturity. The Bible calls this Discipleship. Know God through worship and grow like Christ through discipleship. The direction of our energies are inward.
But we not only grow in our love toward God, but also we grow in our love towards the members of our new God-family – our ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’. He wants you to love not only Him, but others as well. The Bible calls this Fellowship. Fellowship is just a fancy word for learning how to love people. That’s all it is. God wants you to learn to love other people. He says first you learn to love Me. Know and love Me – Worship. Then grow like My Son, Christ – that’s Discipleship. Then I want you to love others. Fellowship.
The third thing He wants you to do is to Show. He wants you to show your gifts, talents and abilities that God has given you. Those gifts are to be used as a “tool”. God didn’t give you your talent for your own benefit. God gave you your talent for somebody else’s benefit. Whenever you use your talents/gifts/abilities to help other people that’s called ministry, or service.
And our service or ministry has two directly benefitting groups – those inside the church and outside the church.
Everybody needs a ministry in the church and a mission in the world. You need a ministry to believers and a mission to unbelievers. You need a ministry serving the family of God. And a mission to those serving outside the family of God.
These three things are the things that matter most in life. If you don’t get anything else done this week you need to get those done. Because God isn’t going to care about the rest. What matters are the reasons He put you here on this planet. None of the other things are going to last for eternity.
The truth is this actually simplifies your life. My goal today is not to teach you how to get more done in less time. Effective time management isn’t cramming more in. Effective time management is knowing what matters most – doing that and not worrying about the rest.
That’s probably enough to “gnaw on” for now … we’ll share the other two principles a little later in the week.