It’s Time To Simplify

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Time To Simplify - Pict 1The promise of a New Year is exciting. It floods our minds with a whole list of hopes and dreams. So, we buy our calendars and fill our schedules with activities until every blank space is filled.

But, perhaps we need to pause and remember that being busy is not the same thing as being significant. Significance comes from the quality of the thing being done, and nothing is of greater quality than that which “seeks first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt. 6:33). Plans made with this dream in mind are the ones worth making.

Our time is one of the most precious commodities of the Kingdom of heaven. What we spend our time on is what we’ve purchased for our lives. This is why Moses prayed, “teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).

One of the ways God underlines the value of each moment is by making so few of them! Even with the best of modern medicine at our disposal, life is startlingly brief. Life is like the summer grass, green today, gone tomorrow (Isa. 40:6-8). Every moment is a precious treasure to be used in meaningful pursuits.

Yet, how often is our time stolen from us by the decision to delay godly deeds? We are certainly not against growing in faith, serving the saints or teaching the lost, but now is not the best time (Haggai 1:2). Our excuses sound pretty legitimate. We need just a little more knowledge, a bit more money, a little less stress, and then we will really be able serve the Lord. But when we decide on delay we have caused that moment to sprout wings and fly away to a pointless horizon.

The circumstances of your life may not be painted with the colors of a Hallmark greeting card. You may wish you had a different job, lived in another town, or looked a different way, but that is not where you are now. “Now” is what needs your attention. Use “now” for the kingdom. Don’t waste your time wishing for something else. Spend your time planting the seeds of the kingdom right where you are and see if a bit of Eden doesn’t begin to blossom.

Time To Simplify - Pict 2The most subtle thief of our time is the good activities that rob us of doing what is best. We are busy people. We’re not wasting our time with trivial games. Our days are not eaten up with sinful and selfish activities. Our schedules are stuffed full of good efforts. We are masters of time management. And yet, we can be totally useless to the kingdom of God and live eternally meaningless lives!

Jesus met a man on the road one day who said, “Wait up Lord! I want to follow you, but let me first finish this project at work.” Another man yelled out, “Yes I want to follow you too, just let me first take care of a family situation and I’ll be right there.” We applaud these men for wanting to follow Jesus, and we admire their commitment to work and family. After all, those are good things. Yet, their words broke the Lord’s heart and He said, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:57-62). They chose to put things of secondary importance first.

Priority must be given to spiritual activities or they will be buried under the avalanche of our daily obligations. Being successful at work is fine, but it is not more important than thriving spiritually. We may like our children to be smart and athletic, but those things do not compare with their spiritual growth and service. They are not even in the same ballpark! Is it possible that our good and pleasurable activities have squeezed the life out of our spiritual priorities?

The fact is most of us put too many demands on our time with things that are not designed to accomplish God’s purposes. Like our neighbors we fill every waking hour with an endless stream of sports, classes and meetings. Most of us need to do fewer things, in order to concentrate on better things. We must stop letting our culture determine what our schedules will look like. A hurting church, a broken world, and our own starving souls are waiting for us to choose what is best.

Time To Simplify - Pict 3The answer is not to simply “get busier,” but to live more intentionally. Here are a couple of suggestions to help you live on kingdom time.

Make Intentional Plans To Serve. Every week have specific things planned to serve kingdom purposes. Write down the day and time you will call a sister who needs encouragement, visit the brother who needs help, talk to the lost person who needs a friend, read the text that needs to be understood, and say the prayer that needs to be prayed. Like most things, if it is not planned it does not happen. Every week there ought to be several things we specifically plan to do because we are “putting first the kingdom of God” (Matt. 6:33).

Have A Daily Purpose To Glorify. No matter what you do each day, do it for the Lord’s glory. Every moment matters. The details of our lives may seem mundane, but they are filled with eternal significance. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” If you teach school, drive a nail, program a computer, sale a product, or train a child, remember to use that time to God’s glory. No moment used to honor the Lord is ever wasted (1 Cor. 15:58).

It’s your lifetime. Use it well.

Tim Jennings

“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Cor. 16:10)


A Little Extra Bit:

Benjamin May’s quick paced little poem speaks to me.

I have only just a minute,
Only sixty seconds in it,
Forced upon me, can’t refuse it,
Didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it.
But, it is up to me to use it.
I must suffer if I lose it.
Give account if I abuse it,
Just a tiny little minute –
But eternity is in it.