Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people), Making the very most of the time [buying up each opportunity], because the days are evil. – Ephesians 5:15-16 [AMP]
The caution by the Apostle Paul to make the most of our time is very important in fulfilling the purpose of God for our lives. Toiling with your time, is toiling with your life, because time is life. According to the above Scripture, it is wisdom to live purposefully, and manage our time properly. On the other hand, it is foolishness to waste our time on things that are unconnected to our life’s purpose or in advancing the Kingdom of God.
THE ROLE OF TIME IN FULFILLING OUR LIFE’S ASSIGNMENT
Every man’s life is timed; no man is meant to live on earth forever, therefore, the need to be judicious in the use of time. Every assignment God gives us is tied to time. The more we procrastinate, the more we are robbed of the privilege of fulfilling our assignments on earth. Our lives are also measured with time; the time that passes is never recovered. We can only make up for lost time by maximizing each moment at our disposal. Every time wasted takes us farther from the fulfillment of our life’s purpose, while the right use of time enhances the fulfillment of our God-given assignment on earth.
The destiny of every man is reflected in how and on what he spends a larger proportion of his time. What we do with our time is no doubt a pointer to where we are heading in life. If you want to know a man’s final destination in life, check his daily routines. When time is misused, purpose is abused, and the consequence is grave “Because to every purpose there is time and judgement, therefore the misery of man is great upon him” (Ecclesiastes 8:6).
CHRIST – A MODEL TIME MANAGER
At creation, God the Creator set forth an example of the prudent use of time as He maximized each day for each created thing – living and non-living. God had to rest on the seventh day because He had fully deployed the past six days for His work. With God, there is no idle moment. Christ confirmed this when He declared, “…My Father has been working until now, and I have been working” (John 5:17). This implies that after creation, God the Father has not ceased working. Christ also had a good sense of time management while He was on earth. This we know by His works and words. One of such statements is found in John 9:4, thus; “All of us must quickly carry out the task assigned us by the one who sent me, because there is little time left before the night falls and all work comes to an end”. He lived and worked with a sense of urgency in fulfilling the tasks God entrusted into His hands because He knew time was of the essence. Each work He did was perfectly timed as He maintained a clear focus in His quest to accomplish His assignment. Everything He said and did had the Father’s approval; He never wasted a bit of time. Little wonder, He didn’t need so many years to accomplish His mission on earth. At the prime of His life (thirty three years), He was done with His mission on earth. This, we must learn of Him.
HOW TO MANAGE YOUR TIME EFFECTIVELY
Live with Eternity in View: When we live with eternity in view, it gives us a sense of urgency and responsibility, knowing our time on earth is short. Living each day, we must be conscious of the fact that we shall account for every second entrusted to us by God. Life is a trust, and so is time. We must live with the notion that each birthday we mark draws us closer to the end of our time on earth. When we live with the awareness that we shall account for the time given to us on earth, it helps us live maximally.
Plan Your Time: Always draw a daily, weekly, monthly or/and yearly plan. If you must use your time wisely, the diary and pen must be your close companions. Keep a to-do list of everything you intend to achieve each day, and be disciplined enough to follow it. Your to-do list should be based on priority such as, ‘must do’, ‘should do’ and ‘may do’. Pay more attention to the ‘must do’, then the others can follow in that order. Learn to sieve the less important from the most important matters of your life, and allot time in order of priority. At the end of each day, always run a time management check on yourself to identify areas where you need improvement in the management of your time.
Watch out for Time Killers: As you draw your daily schedule, you must watch out for certain time killers. Time killers are persons, habits or things which can constitute distraction, discouragement and are irrelevant in the fulfillment of your immediate or long term goals. Time killers could include: unsolicited visitors (gossipers and talkatives), television (movies and other unnecessary programmes), the internet (e.g. social media), procrastination, laziness, wrong companies and so forth. These all have the capacity to get us trapped in the middle of ‘nowhere’. They always perch around to distract us in order to make us fail in our God-given assignment. Be on the lookout for them, and avoid them as much as possible.
Learn to say ‘NO’: In maximizing time to fulfill your purpose, you must learn to say ‘NO’ to certain requests that abruptly interrupt your plans, and do not contribute to the fulfillment of your immediate and ultimate goal. Do not always be a ‘YES’ man or woman. Say ‘NO’ to whatever does not add value to your life, such as attending an unscheduled party when you have an important task to accomplish. You must avoid being a men-pleaser. You mustn’t attend every function. You mustn’t grant every request lest you weary yourself, and squander your time on the non-essentials of life.
Rest Appropriately: The body is like a machine, no matter how efficient, it could breakdown when overworked. The more rest you have, the more effective and efficient you become in fulfilling the tasks ahead of you. Always learn to take a nap and relax to regain energy for the following day’s work. So long as life continues, you cannot accomplish your life’s purpose in one day. One step at a time, as the saying goes, “Rome was not built in a day”. Even God rested after creation, and He also provided a day of rest for His people under the law due to its importance. So, in your daily schedule, rest should be a key component. You can rest by taking a nap, relaxing at a recreational center, taking a walk, exercising, relaxing with your family, going on a vacation or retreat, and so forth.
In conclusion, living each day as if it is our last will help us make the most of our time here on earth. The mystery of life is that, none of us knows the amount of time assigned to us on earth. No matter how long we have to live on earth, it is only but an insignificant share of eternity. Our attitude towards time and the life God has entrusted to us will largely determine our place in eternity. Seize every opportunity to live the life God has given you to the fullest. Be blessed!