A Time to…

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Contributed by John Hellmund, Elder Overseer of Finance at Image Church

I know I have said this before, but I am not the type to blog.  The only time I do is when it is my turn to write the Ethos Blog.  I say that to mention the fact that when I write, I truly try to express something I am going through.  It seems like my life has been really busy the past several years, like most people in the Northern Virginia area.  Back in December, I finally graduated from college after working full-time and going to school full-time.  I don’t wish that on anybody with a family.  I then started a new job and have had a learning process there, and now I have the blessing of a newborn.  There are always going to be people or things demanding your time and attention.  We just have to put them into perspective.

I keep going back to a book that our home group went through several years ago.  It is called Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley.   The main premise of the book is that everybody must establish priorities.  “A priority is something you put ahead of something else.  A priority is something you say yes to even when it means saying no to other important things.”  Our priorities do not always coincide with our responsibilities.  We all have to make choices.  I am a husband, a father, an employee, an Elder, and a friend to name a few titles I carry.  These titles are not listed in order of importance, but they do each represent different responsibilities I have and show the need for me to decide where to spend my time and resources to complete them.

Andy Stanley writes, “Your problem is not discipline.  Your problem is not organization.  Your problem is not that you have yet to stumble onto the perfect schedule.  And your problem is not that the folks at home demand too much of your time.  The problem is there is not enough time to get everything done that you are convinced-or others have convinced you-needs to get done.”  This paragraph is so true.  We all have so much on our plates that we think we need to complete, but is that really the case?  Do we have our priorities straight? 

A great perspective is shown in Ecclesiastes 3:1-12:

To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven:  2  A time to be born, and a time to die; A time to plant, And a time to pluck what is planted;  3  A time to kill, and a time to heal; A time to break down, And a time to build up;  4  A time to weep, and a time to laugh; A time to mourn, And a time to dance;  5  A time to cast away stones, And a time to gather stones; A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;  6  A time to gain, And a time to lose; A time to keep, And a time to throw away;  7  A time to tear, And a time to sew; A time to keep silence, And a time to speak;  8  A time to love, And a time to hate; A time of war, And a time of peace.  9  What profit has the worker from that in which he labors?  10  I have seen the God-given task with which the sons of men are to be occupied.  11  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also He has put eternity in their hearts, except that no one can find out the work that God does from beginning to end.  12  I know that nothing is better for them than to rejoice, and to do good in their lives.

God appoints seasons and times in our lives.  We have to deliberate in what choose to do.

Andy suggest that we take inventory of our lives and see what we are struggling to get done to the best of our abilities.  We then have to look at that list and see what it is we are cheating.  Are we cheating God and not spending the time with Him as we should?  Are we cheating our families and not spending the time with them?  As I am writing this, my two older sons have been coming to me begging for me to play with them.  My first instinct was to tell them that I was busy, and I would play with them later.  As a matter of fact, that is exactly what I did.  Then I got slapped upside my head with conviction that I was making the same mistake I am writing about.  Yes, writing this blog is important, but it can and is currently being written now that my boys are in bed.  I feel that I made the correct decision in putting this aside for a few hours to spent time with my family.  This is just a little example of choosing to cheat.  I did not cheat my kids, and I am not cheating my responsibility to the church, but I am cheating myself of a little TV time.  A wise friend of mine always says something along these lines…We cannot cheat God; we cannot cheat our family; we cannot cheat our jobs, so we must cheat ourselves. 

This is true, because we must put God first.  We have to protect our time with our family, and men must be the Godly leaders of the home.  We have to provide for our families, so we must keep a steady job.  The one main thing we can cheat is ourselves.  How much time are we spending watching TV, playing computer games, or sleeping in?  We all must choose to cheat something.  “When you choose to cheat in accordance with God’s priorities for your life, it is an invitation for Him to bless you in ways you never dared to imagine.”  Colossians 3:23 says, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men. “

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