Watch Your Time

Years ago I remember reading the story of a black woman executive who served everyone: friends, family, colleagues, and community. She was a strong black woman, a superwoman who seemed to have it all together until she was found dead, a victim of suicide to escape a world where time was her enemy, willingly taking her hostage and bounding her to destruction. Perhaps she was a people pleaser, wanting everyone to like her for what she did for them. Maybe she needed to feel needed so she responded to every beck and call. Whatever the underlying issue for this troubled woman, I know that above all she was not prudent with her time.

Some people may think that this is an unfair statement, saying that not budgeting her time wisely is ultimately what killed her. But when you look at anyone who is overwhelmed, whether to the point of death or not, nine times out of ten the issue is using time unwisely. You don’t use time wisely when you spend time doing something you shouldn’t be doing. This could mean that you give time to projects, pleasures and people where your efforts should be focused elsewhere. You could be altogether engaged in something that you shouldn’t or engaged in something that you should but just spending too much or too little time with it.

For instance, you may have a beautiful voice and decide to sing in your church choir when God wants you to pursue being a recording artist instead. Or you may have a beautiful voice and should sing in a choir, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should teach voice lessons to choir members, sing every solo that’s offered to you and direct the choir. In both instances, time is not being used wisely. We have all decided to watch TV, go shopping or talk on the phone instead of doing some work. And with people, we may see a need and decide we should meet it even though we know that need doesn’t fall within our calling. Or we might have to call to ask someone a question to meet a deadline, but we end up handling that person’s issue for 45 minutes. All these are instances of time spent unwisely, even doing some good but not doing our good.

Above all, I think the ultimate waste of time is focusing on projects, pleasures and people instead of giving appropriate intimate time to God. Ephesians 5:15-17 says, “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.” Focusing on God first and fully helps to ensure that we are prudent with our time, not just doing good but doing the good that God would have us to do.

Copyright 2009 by Rhonda J. Smith

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