Have you ever found yourself thinking: “I wish I had more time?” When flying back home from the East Coast, I have sometimes had the ridiculous notion—“This is going to be an awesome day! I gain three hours flying home. I have twenty-seven hours today to get everything done.” By the end of those days, I am glad the Lord, in His wisdom, only gave us twenty-four!
The story is told of an old Norwegian who kept very careful notes of his life in a series of notebooks. On his eightieth birthday he pulled all of those notebooks off the shelf and began to compute his life. He was surprised to find that he had spent five of his eighty years waiting for people. He had spent six months tying neckties, three months scolding children, and eight days telling dogs to lie down and be quiet!
Each week of our lives brings us one hundred sixty-eight hours. When someone complained to Ralph Waldo Emerson that they did not have enough time, Emerson responded with: “Well, I suppose you have all the time there is.” According to reports, the average person spends fifty-six hours a week for rest and recuperation. We spend approximately twenty-eight hours for eating and personal duties. We use forty to fifty hours each week earning a living. That leaves us with thirty to forty hours every week to use as we please.
May I challenge you in this New Year to set some goals with respect to your time for God. One wise man has said: “God has not bowed to our nervous haste nor embraced the methods of our machine age. The man who would know God must give time to Him.”
Now, I know that some of you reading this have tried New Year’s resolutions in the past and have failed. We have decided we are going to lose fifteen pounds or read fifteen chapters in the Bible a day or pray for fifteen minutes or memorize fifteen verses a week or stay out soulwinning until someone gets saved. Often, these types of numerical goals leave us frustrated and defeated.
In 1 Corinthians 16, the Apostle Paul is letting some folks know that he has set some goals of “time.” In verse five and following he writes: “Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.” Notice that Paul is not focusing on what he would like to accomplish at these places—only that he is designating on his schedule some “time” for them.
Look at your schedule—particularly those thirty to forty hours that are “left over.” Set some goals for the year. How about spending fifteen or thirty minutes a day in Bible reading and prayer, an hour or two a week for soulwinning, ten minutes a day for Scripture memory, or perhaps a couple hours a week for some special family time. I will let you decide your priorities, but if they really are priorities, they are going to require some “time.”
When asked what he would do if he knew Christ would return in three days, Evangelist George Whitefield replied, “I would do just what I have scheduled to do.” How will you schedule your time in 2013?