“Show me Your ways, O LORD; teach me Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation; on You I wait all the day.” Psalm 25:4-5

I have long held a fascination for wind-up clocks, watches and sundials. Several years back I came across a cast iron sundial in a secondhand store. The sundial was in the shape of a bowl, to function as a bird bath, and had a tall sailboat in the middle whose mast came to a sharp point which functioned as the stylus to point out the hour. Around the outside of the bowl was a border with the Roman numerals signifying the daylight hours and in large letters the Latin phrase tempus fugit, time flies. I bought the sundial and painted it up with bright colors, put it at our family’s vacation place, and every time I see it I realize how true to life it increasingly is.

Time truly does fly. Psalm 90:9f matter-of-factly states, “We finish our years like a sigh. The days of our lives are seventy years; and if by reason of strength they are eighty years, yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away.” Just the chapter before the psalmist says, “Remember how short our time is…” (89:47). Time is the one commodity that is unalterably limited on this earth for all of us. Psalm 90:12 says, “So teach us to number our days [rightly] that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

A Christian study of time management is not quite the same as time management viewed through an employer’s lens. Business time management seeks to streamline use of time within the confines of a set work week, under the constraints of business pressure, and by quantifiable goals designed to easily measure short-term achievement and success. The stewardship of the Christian life is a bit harder to measure since most spiritual goals are only met as God interjects His power and blessing. While there are short term goals in the Christian life, like reading through the Bible in a year or witnessing to at least one person a week, many of the most significant goals are a lifetime in achieving.

While short-term goals are certainly a valid part of prosecuting faithful Christianity, long-term goals tend to fit the challenge the Lord gives us in the stewardship of life. Our Lord’s own words in the parable of the ten pounds, found in Luke 19:13, illustrate this: “So he called ten of his servants, delivered to them ten minas [each amounting to three month’s salary], and said to them, ‘Do business till I come.’” The various crowns God gives to faithful Christians serves to illustrate the significance of lifelong stewardship, the crown for those who love His appearing (2 Timothy 4:8), the imperishable crown (1 Corinthians 9:25), the crown of life (James 1:12), the crown of glory (1 Peter 5:4), and even the crown of rejoicing or the soul-winners crown (1 Thessalonians 2:19).

The Christian life is more of a marathon than a sprint. The truth of this illustration is that Christians must view life’s “time robbers” in a different light than found in the work-a-day world. We all know what Ecclesiastes 3 teaches: “To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted….” We know the truth of Psalm 32:6, “For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You in a time when You may be found.” And we all know the truth of Psalm 31:15, “My times are in Your hand….” The older we chronologically are, the more acute is our sense of the shortness of a day; and yet we must never lose sight of the eternal scale of the significance of our life’s stewardship.

Waiting upon God, prayer, worship, meditation, expending long hours in caring for a loved one, seeing no “fruit” of our efforts, waiting for a loved one for whatever reason, enduring spiritual immaturity among the saints, or any number of things, are thought useless by a lost world—but are never considered time-wasters by God. In fact, He is often the organizer of these “appointments” for you. To be certain, there are some people who would be glad to waste your time and rob you, but be sure to adjudge the situation under God’s agenda rather than yours.

Guard against these time robbers:

  • Distractions—Remember the “good, better, best” test. Don’t settle on what is merely good and acceptable for the Christian. Always pursue the “best” (1 Corinthians 10:23, 6:12).
  • Disorganization—Seek to establish a godly routine to your week, not just attempt organizing each day. Organization tends to declutter your life (Psalm 90:12).
  • Lack of focus—Make God the center of your aspirations and planning (1 Peter 1:17).
  • Heartlessness—Make it a point to invest yourself in all you must do (Colossians 3:23).
  • Bother—Because God makes inconvenient appointments for us without consulting us (Psalm 37:23), we need to view our lives in blocks of time rather than in moments. When God moves one of our blocks out of the way and puts one of His in its place, we simply have to rearrange our block to a later time.
  • Failure to plan—Always bring enough to do with you, so that you can spiritually profit in case of delays (1 Timothy 4:8f).
  • Lack of obedient faith—(Hebrews 11:6).

Redeem the time and walk in wisdom for you will reap if you faint not (Colossians 4:5, Galatians 6:9). Trust and obey.