By Adam Tait
The comedian Brian Regan has a bit about not being so smart in school as a kid. He speaks on the worst day of his childhood, which was the day that the science fair project was due. He describes waking up that morning and realizing that there were nine months to get it done and absolutely nothing had been accomplished. He decided to bring a paper cup full of dirt, while his school mates were bringing their projects, done by their parents, in on flatbed trucks. He describes the exchange between him and his teacher like this,
“What do you have there, Brian?”
“It’s a cup of dirt. Just put an ‘F’ on there and let me go home.”
“Well, explain it.”
“Well, it’s a cup with dirt in it. I call it ‘Cup of Dirt.’ You should move on now.”
This is a very funny story—a story that I think many of us can relate to. I can relate to this story very well. I have lived this moment numerous times. It is that pit of your stomach feeling when you realize you have made a huge mistake in not managing your time better. Managing time is a skill that we must master in order to be productive in life. There are programs you can download, techniques you can learn, and books you can read. These things can help, but it is essential for all of God’s creation to realize why we must manage time correctly. This time we need to manage is a gift from God. When it comes to managing time, we must extend our focus beyond the day-to-day expectations. Our focus must be on honoring God and working toward eternity.
Wasting time stems from our selfish sin nature. When we waste time we are saying that our personal desires are more important than the task at hand. We are saying that, in that moment, glorifying ourselves is more important than glorifying God in the work we have ahead of us. This may seem hard to swallow or even a bit of a stretch, but we are called to glorify God in all that we do. 1 Corinthians 10:31 teaches that whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. This means that we are called to glorify God when we drive to work, take out the trash, change a diaper, or wake up at 3am to feed your six week old son. Sorry, I got way too personal there, but if I am being honest, those things are hard. Our selfish sinful natures would prefer us to glorify ourselves rather than God. We must get to a place in our walk with Christ where we adjust our focus on glorifying God in all that we do. God has created all things, including time.
This Time is Not Yours
In Paul’s letter to the Colossians, his final instructions include steadfast prayer, thanksgiving, walking in wisdom, and making the best use of time. Paul is warning this church here to manage their time wisely. He wants them to manage the time that God has given them because it is precious. Our time is one of the many gifts from God and that is why we must glorify him through it. Paul also speaks in great detail on being alive in Christ. As believers we have been given new life. With our new lives come new focus. That focus is primarily on glorifying God.
The responsibly of managing time falls on our shoulders alone. We are held accountable directly to God for the management of our time. One passage of scripture that helps to bring this home is Proverbs 6:6-8. It states, “Go to the ant, O slugged; consider her ways, and be wise. Without having any chief, officer, or ruler, she prepares her bread in summer and gathers her food for harvest.” The ant, in its nature, knows to be prepared for harvest. With no ruler or chief the ant is prepared and manages her time wiseIy. We to must by our own fruition manage time wisely and glorify God through all of it. This topic is tough. When we look at our lives we may think that we fall short in the area of managing time. This can be saddening and disappointing, but there is grace from God for these short comings. God’s grace is new every morning. The work done on the cross has forgiven these shortcomings. This does not mean that we should sit on our hands and rely on grace, but we must put our hands to the plow and work for the glory of the sovereign God! I pray that as you go through your days, weeks, and months ahead that you would remember these passages and remember that the time you have is a gift from God and you must glorify him in managing it.