I typed the words “time management” into the Google search engine and over 245 million results popped up. Clearly managing our time and getting the most out of our days is an important concept for most adults.
For many people, managing their time means trying to cram more events into a busy schedule. We spend a lot of time juggling schedules and trying to fit a vast number of items into the typical American day. I have written about time management many times. For me, time management begins with a Christian worldview and the belief that God is in control and has a plan for our lives. I believe in priority management, energy management, and vision or purpose management more than time management.
One concept that is often overlooked in this essential and often vexing subject is found in Ephesians 5:15-17. The Apostle Paul writes about some critical concepts for managing one’s time, including leaning on God’s wisdom and learning God’s will. He writes, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” I believe the key component is found in the phrase, “Making the best use of time because the days are evil.” Here we find two important ideas for managing one’s time.
Managing your time is important because the days are evil. We all know that there is evil and immorality around us. That can certainly be one meaning. Because death entered the world through mankind’s sin, the time is short. We must be wise in our use of time because of the time limits on our lives. We will draw our last breath one day. Time races past us at blinding speed.
But I think the better understanding is found in the contrast that Paul makes in the entire chapter. He contrasts the life lived by human wisdom apart from God with the life that is lived for God in a relationship with Jesus Christ. The Bible is filled with these types of analogies. He is saying that the days are evil because the world and the world’s system of thinking are in opposition to God and his ways. It is the world’s way of thinking versus the ways and wisdom of God. Simply put, he is saying don’t think of your time like the world does. Think the way that God thinks about things and follow his plan.
The second idea is the most important. Make the most of your time. If we are to think about our time the way that God does, then we must think about our lives the way God does. I love how some older translations read: redeem the time. At the time this was written the concept of redemption was largely understood as someone who was greater and had greater resources paying the price to free him or her from slavery. That is exactly what Jesus does for us when we put our faith in his finished work on the cross. He redeems us. He paid the price for us. In other words, we must see our time through the prism of Jesus, his redemption, and God’s grace. What a way to manage your life!
I believe the most important concept of time management is for us to understand that we have been redeemed by Jesus through our faith and because of his grace. If we are to redeem our time, then we must treat it as if God wants to redeem it too. In other words, we must turn over control to him, use his wisdom in our planning, and ask him to bless it. He is a lot better at managing things than we are.
Jesus was God’s first and best. When we redeem our time in light of his grace, then we give him the first and best as well.
So what is the point? If you want to redeem your time, then you need to give it to God first. I suggest starting your day praying, talking to God and reading the Bible. It does not have to be very long, but when you put him first in your day you are saying to God, “I want you to redeem my day.”
Try it. Put God first in your schedule. Before long you will discover that God is a whole lot better at managing the events of your day than you are.