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Introduction

We have all been giving something to care for. We’re all stewards or caretakers.

1 Peter 4:10-11 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies--in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

Matt’s message: God is working in you to accomplish his work in everything that you do. Your vocation is more than your 9-5 it’s your calling and what you do. The way to optimize every moment is to love others.

Our highest calling:

Luke 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

This is our guiding command! This is our life – what everything should center around. This is our calling – our vocation. What drives and motivates our life. What have we been given? Time
This is almost just a different vantage point on our calling/vocation. Because it is so pervasive. You can’t stop spending time and you’ll either give it to one thing of another. You can’t save it up or preserve it. Once it’s gone it’s gone.

I would like to speak this morning to the few people here who have misused their time in the past week. Those of you who have (who here falls into one of these catagories?)

  • felt too busy
  • wasted time
  • slept in
  • gone to bed too late
  • over or under worked
  • been bored
  • been anxious or worried
  • sinned
  • felt too busy – doing too much
  • wasted time – doing too little
  • slept in – been undisciplined
  • gone to bed too late - likewise
  • over or under worked – wrong priorities
  • been bored – un-envisioned
  • been anxious or worried – misused time
  • sinned - likewise

Ok, so I think we can pretty much slot everyone into this category. Let’s get this straight: It is as hard to stop sinning as it is to steward your time perfectly. We can always be better.

 

Part #1 – Understanding our time

It’s about what gets priority. We’ve got to think about this right.

Psalm 90:12 So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.

Ephesians 5:15-17 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

Ephesians 5:8-10 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord.

God has a will for our time, so discern what is pleasing to the Lord. A specific purpose for each moment. That purpose feeds into our ultimate purpose.

Luke 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

This gives glory to God! Using time for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

Categories for (the best use of your) God’s time:
Use your time to honor God by – this is God’s will for you as he says in his word

  • Engaging in Relationship – loving God by spending time with him. Loving people by spending time with them.

Luke 10:27 And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself."

This includes having a daily time with God through his word and prayer, connecting with the church (the people of God), spending quality time with your family.

  • Serving and Sharing – as a portion of loving God and people

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.

Colossians 4:5-6 Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.

This includes serving the poor and needy, doing good work, sharing the gospel,

  • Working – as a portion of loving God and people

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat. For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies. Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

1 Thessalonians 4:11 and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you,

Some of you are not working enough, some of you are working too much – we’ll talk priorities in a bit. Working is loving God through loving your neighbor – your job is serving someone – creating something good, providing a service, helping contribute to the common good.

  • Resting– as a portion of loving God and people

Mark 2:27 And he said to them, "The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.

Psalm 127:2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sheep.

How can this love God? Know that he loves you and has created you to need rest and to work best when you are relaxed – we can connect with him and work harder when we rest. It honors him when we rest. It tells him that we trust him with what we can’t accomplish. But it’s important that we rest appropriately – not just distract ourselves.

All of these areas can get out of balance!

 

Budgeting Time

Think of your time as if it were a paycheck. Each day you get $24 and have to spend a dollar each hour. $168 a week Your taxed %30 for sleep and a little more for food and trips to the bathroom. $100 after taxes. Everyone gets the same amount!

Where is your time going?
Remember the 4 catagories: Relationship, Serving/Sharing, Working, Resting
Use those 4 and budget your time as if money. Let’s use nice round numbers

  • Relationship: $20
  • Serving/Sharing: $20
  • Work: $50
  • Rest: $10

That’s taking a day off every week and spending three hours a day in relationship and serving/sharing. Notice there is no category for selfishness, distraction or sin! Now I’m guessing – I may be off here but I’d bet that most if not all of you have your time budget out of wack!

Those of you who have (who here falls into one of these catagories?)

  • felt too busy
  • wasted time
  • slept in
  • gone to bed too late
  • over or under worked
  • been bored
  • been anxious or worried
  • sinned

Your time budget doesn’t HAVE to be out of wack to fall into this but I believe we all must take stock and reevaluate our time budget (schedule) regularly!

I am a pastor – rather similar to being self employed. Time is a hard thing to manage. If I don’t manage my time well the results don’t show immediately they are reaped over the long haul.

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

Your schedule is what you’re sowing. Go over it. Figure out what you’re actually giving your time to. See if that is what you should be giving your time to!

God gives you exactly enough time to do what he wants you to do. You might be like me. I like being busy. Everyone expects it. If someone asks you what you’ve been up to lately and you just lamely say nothing – that seems irresponsible! This is also fear of man – we want to look good before other people. But if you’re too busy – it leads to anxiety, stress, not being able to keep up.

My example: I have a problem. As a pastor I work with Christians. I like Christians. (Most of the time) I enjoy leading, I really like talking about the Bible and studying it. I like discipleship. I get into church strategy and organization. I dream about planting a church.

I know that I am supposed to serve and share not only in the church but outside it as well. I am not very good at that. It’s a struggle to build relationships (I’m not very relational in the first place) with unbelievers. Over the span of a couple years this kept coming up as I would work through my priorities and my schedule. I could not escape. Conviction kept after me.

I need a group of people that I can build relationship with week after week. That I can get to know and let know me. And I needed to MAKE it happen. On my own I couldn’t do it. I needed God’s help. I prayed about it and put it in my schedule!!!

A year and a half ago I started an open mic night at Zeke’s to do just that. It’s really hard sometimes. My flesh rebels!!! I want more me time – and there are even times when I feel like my relationships there are wasted compared to building relationships with believers BUT I’m still praying and still trusting God and I’m still convinced that’s where God wants me on Thursday nights!

Rick Whitney’s Example – I realize some of the busiest people in this church are you highschool parents. Not having that experience myself I decided to get an outsiders take. So I asked Rick. Take this as a challenging example. I can toot his horn like I can’t for some of you.

I have always encouraged families to "pick their poison." In other words, decide what their family will give themselves to. And then go for it. But not be scattered with four or five different kinds of activities - multiplied by the number of kids.

If it's sports - then fine. If it's 4-H - then fine. If it's music - then fine. If it's camping - then fine. Whatever. But don't feel pressured as parents to expose your kids to a little bit of everything.
I believe character can be learned in almost any arena. If a family is given to the outdoors, character will be learned there. If a family is involved in sports - character will be learned there.

But I have never felt that I have had to let each of my children "sample" a little bit of everything. If families will focus - I think it can eliminate a lot of the daily and weekly clutter.
The main thing we gave ourselves to was 4-H and it was a hoot! All kinds of character was learned. And today none of them are involved in 4-H. It was just a focused tool that we used with our family.
And every family will be different in their choice.

 A part of people’s problem comes down to addiction and idolatry! It’s affected by what you really love!

Boredom isn’t God’s will for you. If you struggle with boredom let’s talk. Let’s look at your schedule.

 

#2 How do we balance it?

How then do we find the balance? – let’s get ultra-practical. This is a constant battle – to stay on schedule – to keep your priorities. Some of you have a hard time making decisions. You need a schedule all the more so that you don’t have to make so many decisions – when someone asks you to do this or that you can look at your schedule and have it say yes or no for you. But first you need the schedule (time budget). You may have one category dominating your time – taking much more than it should. Or you may have one category that is absent or really small!

7 baby steps to time management – bring those 4 categories into the right balance.

1. Entrust your time to God – put him first and he’ll take care of it!

Proverbs 16:9 The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

2. Plan and check your time budget regularly - Get a calendar and use it (or other tools) to track it

a. if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

b. Check 4 categories – set your priorities! Keeping priorities straight is OUR BIGGEST PROBLEM!

c. Stop sinning

3. Work the plan – actually abide by your time budget – let it make decisions for you.

a. Say yes to things that fit, do the right things – don’t do nothing

b. Say no to things that don’t fit.

4. Prioritize interruptions according to importance/urgency

a. Plan for the unexpected – be flexible

b. Leave white space in your schedule around big immoveable things

c. Leave early to get there on time

d. Claim cracks

5. Rest appropriately so you don’t have to rest too much

a. General expectation of what time should look like – there is a lot of time wasted on TV

b. You may not be wasting your time in the traditional sense you’re just not using it to the full potential.

c. It’s like eating junk food – it’s still food but it’s not good food. It’s good tasting food.

d. Sugar coated Styrofoam! Cheetos! Vs real rest –steak and potatoes! – filling, satisfying

6. Work with another person/mentor

Don’t go it alone – bring your schedule to someone else and have them look over it. Get advice!

 Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel plans fail, but with many advisers they succeed.

7. Recognize obstacles – “set two alarms”

Know yourself and where you struggle. Is it to get up in the morning? Or go to bed at night? Do you struggle to say no or yes? Is there an activity that is taking over your life? Someone else’s activity? Working out? Video games? TV? Netflicks? – How many hours do those things get?
Schedule it find out so you can change!

 

Conclusion

Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Live as a sacrifice to God – discern his will and then do it.
You can’t install a time management system – you have to understand what your time is for. Start with part 1 – understand your time. Then start working the steps. These steps will only take you so far. You’ll have trouble if you’re not motivated to be different.

When we’re exhausted but satisfied (at peace) then we’ve hit the balance right. Let me beg you – don’t just be busy. Get your priorities straight. Do the right things.

Do the God honoring things.

  • In relationship
  • Serve and share
  • Work
  • And rest!

Maybe you’ve got some big changes to make to your life – you’ve got stuff you’re missing or trying to do too much of. I’d guess most if not all of us can make at least small changes to live in greater faith. Love God with everything and love our neighbor as ourselves just a little bit more. That’s a tall order.

It’s a good thing God is able to help us accomplish it.

2 Corinthians 9:8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.