Time-Out for Leaders
Regular commuters are creatures of habit. Sitting in roughly the same place on the train every day, we become nodding acquaintances with our travelling companions. Every morning like clockwork she put on her make up on the train. He took out his flask of coffee and a sandwich and ate his breakfast. Some crawled on board and continued sleeping almost before they sat down. Others could never make it in good time, always ran on board just as the doors were closing.
Multi-tasking, cramming in as much as possible in the least possible amount of time is normality in the 21st century. By contrast Jesus never hurried.
In 2014, in an effort to reduce a rising number of accidents involving pedestrians, a leading mobile provider in Japan developed an app which displays a yellow banner and freezes a smart phone screen when it senses the user is simultaneously surfing and walking.
Multi-tasking, cramming in as much as possible in the least possible amount of time is normality in the 21st century. By contrast Jesus never hurried. He had a three-year time frame for his ministry, yet he was not tyrannised by time. He went from place to place, taking the necessary time to teach and heal: engaging with the individual as well as the multitudes. He reprimanded his disciples for sending mothers and children away. Instead, Jesus took time to bless the children, and based on his parables, we can conclude he took time to observe the simple beauties of nature as well as the challenges of daily life.
Psalm 90:12 says: “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Time is a non-reusable gift from God. We can kill time, but we can’t resurrect it. Once it is gone, it is not retrievable. As leaders we are often so busy trying to cram something into every minute that we lose sight of how these minutes look from an eternal perspective.
The Bible doesn’t talk about time-management, but it does talk about redeeming time. Paul writes: See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:15-16, NKJV).
Time is a non-reusable gift from God. We can kill time, but we can’t resurrect it. Once it is gone, it is not retrievable. As leaders we are often so busy trying to cram something into every minute that we lose sight of how these minutes look from an eternal perspective.
How we invest our time reveals our priorities. Everyone has the same 168 hours a week. On average a person will sleep 56 hours, personal hygiene will account for another 24, while 50 hours will be spent in work related activities, leaving about 35 hours to use on other things. How we invest them speaks volumes. Do we spend them on the internet, watching TV, with our families, in Bible study or prayer?
Leaders have a tendency to say “yes” when they should say “no”. Good stewardship involves reevaluating our calendars: saying no to some activities. If we don’t manage our time, others will do it for us, setting agendas, which may be good in themselves but can drain and limit our usefulness.
Good stewardship is creating some space or margin in your life. Not filling every second or minute with activity; rather planning for “margins” or “breathing spaces” between events, and meetings. We all have experienced the unexpected traffic jam, someone else being delayed, and suddenly our day spirals out of control.
As leaders, we need to create room for God. Time to study the Bible and listen to His voice. Spending time in prayer— asking God to make us aware of opportunities in which to invest our time, not to over fill the minute but rather to use it in a way that will yield eternal dividends.