Originally published Monday, 16 September 2013.
The ease and carefree days of summer feel like they have long past. Our lives have returned to full speed. It's as though we've gone from a slow meandering drive through the country side and exited directly onto the autobahn.
At the end of the day, I feel exhausted, and can't remember my own name. When I finally get to stop and take a breath, I wonder, just what did I do all day? Did I get anything accomplished? Why do I feel so scattered? I glance at my Bible and know that I need to seek God in all the chaos but I just haven't the time. Or energy. I'll do it tomorrow.
Only tomorrow ends up being a repeat of the same. And I feel even more worn.
In our fast paced culture, we are always on the go and trying to do more in less time. We are strained, stressed, and spread thin. Our hearts are quick to focus on the problems of the day and become consumed by it. And when those problems aren't overcome, we worry about how we will handle them tomorrow. And the day after that. But a remarkable thing can happen when we step back and "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well" (Matthew 6:33). The more we give God our time, the more we honor him with our time, the more he helps us accomplish what needs to be done.
I often talk to my children about "budgeting their time." There are similarities between how we use our money and how we use our time. Much has been written on how we ought to use our money wisely. We know that all our money has been given to us by God and we are stewards of that money. We know we are not to desire to be rich, nor are we to hoard it, and that we are to share our resources with others. We've probably even witnessed the miracle of God's provision when we've been faithful in giving to him, even when we didn't have the money to give.
The same is true with our time. God gives us our time to steward and use for his glory just as he does our money. Time is a resource and when we view it as something to use for God, it changes our perspective in how we use it. In fact, when we "seek first his kingdom and his righteousness" then all the little distractions in our life lose their draw. Time wasters become less desirable. We become more conscious of how we are using each and every moment. Time, like money, can be invested in what is worthy or it can be consumed and wasted.
I have so often stressed over the tasks I need to accomplish during the day. I look at what's ahead in our curriculum or at my to-do list and I think there just isn't enough time to get it all done. My heart worries and frets. I become a task master around the house. Joy slowly leaks from my heart like a deflated tire until I am immobilized.
But when I pray about my day and commit my tasks, responsibilities, and even my to-do list to God, I find a change in my heart. I feel less weight on my shoulders. There's more confidence and trust that no matter what happens in my day, God will help me accomplish his agenda and plan. The fear of leaving something left undone is gone.
And then, there's that miracle where more gets done than I expected. I smile a prayer of thanks because I know that it was God's doing and not my own. I'm reminded of the passage in Malachi, written about tithing, "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it" (Malachi 3:10).
Trust is at the source of our ability to give our time to God. We have to believe that God's plan for our day is good. When interruptions and unexpected events arise that cause our routine or schedule to go awry, we have to trust that God is not surprised by those interruptions. He knows what is most important and sometimes he has a different task for us to accomplish. How we respond to those interruptions and our depth of trust in his plan can bring him glory or cause us grief.
As with our daily provisions and needs, God calls us to trust him with our time. We need to seek him first. We need to find our rest with him in the midst of the chaos. When I am tempted to race through my day to get everything done in my allotted twenty-four hours with nary a thought to what God wants me do, I hear him say, "Trust me. I know what you need and what needs to be done. Let go of your worries about how much you have to do and how little time you have. Give it to me. Honor me with what you do today. And see if I will not amaze you with blessing, the blessing of knowing me, being with me, being held by me, being used by me. When you believe that nothing is more important than me, than anything you accomplish, anything you mark off your list will be icing on the already sweet cake." With that said, I think it's time for me to spend sweet time in the presence of my Savior.
How about you? Have you ever found your life to be less chaotic when you trust God with your time?