Time Management

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The below Bible study on principles from the Bible about time management. These free inductive notes are intended as supplement to your own study, not a replacement. Feel free to copy, print, or share them. These notes can be helpful for individual study of the Word or for small group Bible studies. We hope your understanding of God’s Word is deeper from them.

Time Management – Tips from the Bible

Time Management or I was already busy before I became a Christian- NOW WHAT???

Ladies, I am thankful for each of you who has made time to come to this retreat and to this seminar! Most of you are relatively young in your relationships to the Lord. You have responsibilities at home and at work. You have health needs. You have relationships with family and friends. You need time to rest,  time to eat, time to get from here to there. Yes, life was already busy and now that you are Christians, you have to add time for your relationship to Christ and time for some kind of Christian ministry or service to your load. It seems almost impossible, doesn’t it?

I googled time management and as I read some articles on it, this statement stood out to me. “Nothing is easier than being busy, and few things are more difficult than being efficient and effective. God gives each of us 24 hours a day. How we use those hours is up to us.”

In our Bible study we’ve been studying the priorities God wants for us to have. He wants to have first place in our lives. Why is that? Beyond the fact that He is God and deserves first place in everything, He also desires us to put Him first in our lives to make us into productive and effective women, for His glory. Jesus said,

John 15:5

“5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

You may think that in the past, before you came to Christ, you managed ok. You held down a job, had a marriage and a family, or you did well in school or you were a star in some sport or whatever.  But was your life really fulfilling? Were you investing your time or using your time? What did you accomplish in your life before Christ that will have eternal benefits? I think this is one reason ancestor worship is common.  People want to feel that what they’ve accomplished in this life will follow them to the grave. They don’t want life or the worth of their lives to end. But you know what? It does end. And no matter how many people bow down at the grave of a dead person, that person has no benefit from it in eternity. Their eternity was decided before death when they either accepted or rejected Jesus Christ as Lord.

We need to remember that He is the vine and that we are branches. Our very life force and true strength comes from and through Him. Without Him we really can’t do anything that’s worth doing.

Since we can do nothing apart from Christ, I think it’s helpful to get a few insights into Jesus’ life. He is our example. How did He live? How did He use His time? What was important to Him?

He was a carpenter, but His profession is only mentioned once in Scripture. He was not defined by His profession but rather by His relationship to the Father. Mark 6:3

3 Isn’t this the carpenter ? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.

He was not wealthy and didn’t regard material things as important. Matt 8:20

20 Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

He didn’t even have enough money to pay taxes but rather got a coin from the belly of a fish to pay them. Matt 17:26-27

 27 “But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”

Another thing we see in the life of Jesus is that He made it a priority to go to a quiet place to pray. Matt 14:23

23 After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray .

Scripture shares several times when Jesus or Jesus and the disciples took time alone to pray. These times of prayer came before a number of His more noteworthy accomplishments.  After a time of prayer, 40 days of praying and fasting, Jesus withstood Satan’s temptations in the desert. After praying all night He chose the twelve disciples.  After a time of prayer He walked on the water. After a time of praying with the disciples He was shown to the disciples in the brightness of His glory. After a time of prayer He went to the cross for His final victory over sin.  It’s interesting to observe that Jesus made spending time with His Father through prayer a priority in His own life.

And, of course, Christ’s life was full of ministering to people. As a matter of fact, often when He went to a quiet place to pray the crowds followed Him.  Though He was not married and had no physical children, He knew what it was to have His prayer time interrupted! Jesus was a busy man. He understands a busy life. But busy for what purpose?

How Jesus used His time was all about being in the will of His Father.

John 6:38

38 For I have come down from heaven not to do my will but to do the will of him who sent me.

Jesus was wise enough to desire God’s will for His life even when it wasn’t easy. He lived for God’s glory.

So these are just a few examples from Jesus’ life that teach us how to use our time well- Don’t be defined by our careers but rather by our relationships with Christ. Don’t pursue wealth.  Spend time alone with Him and don’t let it upset us when we are interrupted in doing that by the people in our lives. Seek to do the Father’s will rather than our own.

Now that we know how Jesus used His time, let’s look at some strategies for managing our own time. I am not a wonderful example when it comes to managing my time. I am learning the same as you are. I’ve found a few practical tips that may be helpful to us as we learn how to use our time for God’s glory.

Practical Principle #1

Work less. Don’t give our lives to our careers.

Jesus had a lot to say about our relationship with money or making money and this is part of it-

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money .

But, you may say, we need money to live. Yes, that’s true. We all need food to eat and homes to live in. But the question really, as always, goes back to the heart. What are we serving when we work?

1 Tim 6:6-10

6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. 7 For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. 8 But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. 9 People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction. 10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

I really believe when we are trying to figure out how to fit God into our lives, we need to evaluate if we are giving too much of our lives to our jobs? If we are so busy making money that we don’t even have time for a quiet time every day, we’re too busy! And, yes, I know how a lot of Chinese people view this. We’ve seen people turn from following Christ because their families and friends tell them rather than wasting time on God they need to use their time to make money. But actually, though we need money to eat and live, I have always been thankful that I don’t need to waste my time making money! I am privileged to be a wife and a mom and to invest my life in the souls of my family and friends. It is a joy to me to spend my time this way and I’m very thankful God allowed me to use my life this way. I often tell my family that I have the best job in the world!

When people get to the end of their lives and look back, what are they most proud of? It’s usually not their careers or the money they made. No, most Christians think back on their walk with God and their family relationships. Many will say, “I wish I’d used more time to serve the Lord.” “I wish I’d spent more time with my children while they were growing up. I wish I’d had more children.” Really, I think very few say, “Oh, I wish I’d worked more. I wish I’d made more money!” The Bible puts it this way, “Mark 8:36-37 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world , yet forfeit his soul?” So this is my time management suggestion- Work less.

Practical Principle #2

There is a time for everything. Life has its seasons and we can’t be all things all the time.

Eccl 3:1-8

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under heaven:

2 a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3 a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

a time to embrace and a time to refrain,

6 a time to search and a time to give up,

a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7 a time to tear and a time to mend,

a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8 a time to love and a time to hate,

a time for war and a time for peace.

It’s easy to look at the life of another person and think that we need to be able to do what they do. I remember when I was a young mom with two babies. There were single women around me who were ministering at the university there. When I saw their ministry, I felt like a failure! I mean, I could barely get a meal on the table at night or get my hair combed because I was so busy with two little ones younger than two! But somehow God spoke to my heart and reminded me that there would be time for that later. At that time, I needed to minister to my husband and my babies. They were my top priority.

We don’t need to look around at others and compare our lives to theirs. We need to ask God what He has for our own lives each day. At one season of our lives we may have time to serve the Lord in a certain way and at another season we may not. Single women have more time to reach out to the orphanage and to lead Bible studies. Women with young children are naturally busier with the daily needs of their kids. Older ladies may have more time for uninterrupted prayer. We need to live in the season of life that we’re in right now and make the most of it, accepting the limitations we presently have and taking advantage of the opportunities.  Life changes. There are many seasons and each is different.  We aren’t expected to do everything at once so we need to stop comparing and just ask the Lord what He wants US to do at this time in our lives.

This brings us to:

Practical Principle #3

Emphasize our relationship WITH Christ rather than what we can do FOR Him.

Sometimes we tend to be very results oriented or to be performance based. We somehow feel that we are more valuable to God if we do more for Him. Mary and Martha learned what was important to Christ in these verses: Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

There was nothing wrong with Martha serving and certainly the people needed to be fed. But Jesus rebukes her because she was worried and upset about so many things. He’s saying, “Yes, we need to eat, but a bowl of soup would fill our bellies just as well as this elaborate meal you’re planning!” He commended Mary because she was doing what was really important- she was listening to the words of Christ, seated at His feet. We should serve the Lord and others, yes, but what God wants most is for us to listen to Him. He wants a relationship with us rather than for us to be so busy serving Him that we have no relationship. I admit, this is a hard one for me. Have you ever just wanted to sit and talk with a friend but they were so busy doing things for you that they didn’t have time just to listen and to talk?  This is the way with our walks with God. And we end up so over extended in serving that we forget that the power to serve comes from that time with Him. Then our strength gives out and we become empty, cross (Cathy, this cross means cranky or upset), and exhausted because we were doing it in our own power and strength rather than in His.

What car can drive on and on without getting gas? We need the fuel that comes from walking with Him and relying on His Spirit!

See Part 2 Of Using Time Wisely

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