The Value of Time
The Value of Time
I am sure you have heard the expression: “If only I had more time.” Truth be told, we all have the same amount of time –twenty-four (24) hours in a day. However, the question is: “What do we do with 24 hours?” The answer to this question determines what we do or get done. Ellen White whom we admire wrote: “If every moment were valued and rightly employed, we should have time for everything that we need to do for ourselves or for the world” (The Ministry of Healing, page 208). How do we rightly employ 24 hours?
As it is for many of you, there is a demand upon my time. Many e-mails and telephone calls come to me daily. Also, persons with and without appointments come to see me. It is impossible to respond to all- even though I try. I am grateful for the assistance of my past and current administrative assistants, who have helped persons with vital information thus reducing the amount of persons I have to see. I wish to clarify that I enjoy meeting persons personally, but if I saw everyone that came or called, I would have no time to do other important duties. As a rule, I seek to respond to e-mails once I read them; for to put this off requires a second reading, and that takes more time. The point that I make is that management of time necessitates prioritizing what is most important. Personal devotion or time spent with the Lord is absolutely necessary for me. In my line of ministry, I require wisdom and spiritual fortitude, because I do not know what I will encounter in the course of a day. Also important are spending time with my family and getting the work done for which I am employed.
A near death experience confirmed what’s most important in my life (I was traveling on a 9-seater aircraft when it lost one engine). Outside of my relationship to Christ, I considered strongly my wife, Denise, and children Larnelle and Darnell. However, I don’t think one needs to have a near death experience to realize what is most important in life. You just need to ask, “If I had only one hour left, what would I do with my time?”
You have heard it said, “He who fails to plan plans to fail.” How true! It is a must that we plan ahead so as to avoid panic or unnecessary stress. To some this is referred to as strategic or deliberate planning.
Advance planning allows for quality time. In writing this weekly update, I find it necessary to settle in my mind what I will write well in advance of my Thursday evening or Friday deadline. To wait until Thursday or Friday morning results in anxiety and stress. The same could be said for last minute sermon preparation or the like. All of us are required to prepare sermons, so we should schedule enough time for preparation. Advance preparation gives us time to think carefully about what we want to say, thus avoiding our pet expressions and themes. Admittedly, most of us have experienced the Friday night jitters of knowing that we will speak in the morning, but we are not ready. We deny spouse, children and self needed time for bonding, worship and relaxation. It is hard even to hear the voice of God, for we are too anxious. Unfortunately, we stand before the congregation at times tired, tense and irritable; and we struggle to present the message. If only we had planned ahead, we could have enjoyed Friday evening and Sabbath morning. After all, we, too, need rest if we are to serve effectively. Leading and ministering could be stressful, but if we, like Christ, would pull away and retreat, we would have a more balanced ministry.
We must recognize that we cannot do it all. Even assignments and projects that we can do we must learn to delegate, otherwise we are likely to experience burn out. God expects that we train, equip and empower members for ministry. Sometimes we attempt too much while there are those who can do what is necessary. I know it is easy to adopt the notion: “If you want something done, do it yourself.” While that may work, it is not healthy.
In summary, I repeat that we all have access to the same amount of time -24 hours in a day. Maybe, if I were to start now, I can begin to realize some needed changes in my life. I suggest a simple but powerful approach. Get a “3 by 5” card or a piece of paper, or the note pad on your smart phone, and list what it is that you need to do today or tomorrow (depending when you read this update). Then get started with the most important. It may surprise you that you have time in your day for some things that you desire to do for yourself or another. Later, get a sheet of paper and list what you want to accomplish within the next year or even 10 years of your life. Do so prayerfully, and then devise a plan of action to achieving them. Again you may surprise yourself as to how focused you are. Make no mistake about it, if you do not have a plan for your day or life, then someone else, including the devil, is likely to have one for you. Simply put, there is much packaged in 24 hours: there is rest, there is worship, there is recreation, there is work, there is time for self, family and others –it is all up to you. Consider the following thought.
Thought to Ponder:
To realize the value of one year, ask a student who has failed a final exam.
To realize the value of one month, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.
To realize the value of one week, ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.
To realize the value of one hour, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet.
To realize the value of one minute, ask the person who has missed the train, bus, or plane.
To realize the value of one second, ask a person who has survived an accident.
To realize the value of one millisecond, ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.
Time waits for no one. Treasure every moment you have.