Day 1: It’s About Time
Evelyn sat on the other side of the desk and let out a deep sigh. “Jared and I are completely overwhelmed.”
Evelyn, 34, and Jared had three kids. Evelyn had recently taken a new job with the city’s newspaper. “Every day we are swamped. From the time we try to get our kids ready for school until the time they finally fall asleep, life is nonstop. Our youngest just started his first year of T-ball, so now we have three children in three separate leagues. It’s a logistical nightmare. I don’t even want to think about when the baseball season starts overlapping with soccer. And, of course, it’s not just the kids. Jared and I are really dedicated to our careers.”
Evelyn had always tried to put a positive spin on their busy lives. The kids were developing and getting opportunities. Their own careers were progressing. But these good things had come at a cost. They were losing control.
“Jared and I don’t really spend much time with our children. And I miss the times when Jared and I would go out together, just the two of us. I miss dates. I couldn’t tell you the last time we did something like that together.”
Evelyn looked at her watch. “I’ve got to go. I have to pick up my oldest child from practice. Jared should be on his way to pick up the youngest.” And with a half-smile and a head nod, she was gone.
Can you relate to Evelyn? Our culture is obsessed with time, yet we never have enough. This week we will look at time from God’s perspective and set goals for the way we use our time. Then we will make sure our actions match our priorities so that we use our time for the important things in life instead of allowing time to control us.
Humans at Risk
Our culture places a very high value on time. We spend massive amounts of money developing new ways to increase the efficiency of our moments on earth. With each passing day, our culture becomes more and more proficient in ways to maximize time. Because of time-saving technology, we are able to do more, learn more, and experience more in a lifetime than any generations that preceded us.
And this is good. God created us with intellects to explore his world and to do great things with it. But we have a problem. Our obsession with time has become unhealthy. It has permeated areas of our lives it should have never entered.
In what ways can you relate to Evelyn’s story?
Rushing with kids’ activities
No time for spouse or other important relationships
How did you get in this time crunch?
By adding things I thought would benefit me and my
Pressure to achieve in my career
Social pressure to be involved in activities
Pressure to be involved in church activities
Even if We started with good intentions, by adding on more and more, our lives quickly get out of control.
Busyness has consumed us.
In research they were amazed to see that approximately 44 percent of respondents agreed that if their daily lives continued at the current pace, they would probably have health problems. That number is alarming. The stress of a go-go-go lifestyle has been linked to a number of health problems.
What, it any, health problems are you experiencing?
Heart disease Obesity Memory problems
Stress Depression Fatigue
Irritability Sleep disorder
Anxiety High blood pressure
Our obsession with time has come at a high cost. We are literally putting our lives at risk for the pursuit of personal gain.
Of course, it is not just our physical health that is suffering. Our families are also impacted by this problem. Spouses don’t have time for each other. Our children are also caught up in a whirlwind of activities, from soccer to ballet to French club. And we are all too busy for God, the giver of time.
44% feel they will have health problems if their daily lives continue at the current pace.
57% rarely go on dates with their spouses.
84% need to spend more time with their spouses.
Made for Eternity
Christ follows are supposed to look at time differently. This life is literally a blip on the eternal time line. But because we live in a world in which time exists, we understandably struggle to wrap our minds around the infinite. But we still know it’s there, Waiting on us.
“[God] has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also put eternity in their hearts, but man cannot discover the work. God has done from beginning to end” (Eccl. 3:11).
Why is it so difficult for us to live with eternity in mind?
God created us for eternity; yet while still time-bound, we can’t fully grasp that eternal perspective. If we could somehow fully grasp the concept of never-ending, then our time on this planet would certainly be different. But we can’t. We find it difficult to move beyond thee day, much less the eternal. Consequently, we make choices based on the
only time span that seems important–the blip.
Read Psalm 90:
A prayer of Moses the man of God.
1 Lord, you have been our dwelling place
throughout all generations.
2 Before the mountains were born
or you brought forth the whole world,
from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
3 You turn people back to dust,
saying, “Return to dust, you mortals.”
4 A thousand years in your sight
are like a day that has just gone by,
or like a watch in the night.
5 Yet you sweep people away in the sleep of death—
they are like the new grass of the morning:
6 In the morning it springs up new,
but by evening it is dry and withered.
7 We are consumed by your anger
and terrified by your indignation.
8 You have set our iniquities before you,
our secret sins in the light of your presence.
9 All our days pass away under your wrath;
we finish our years with a moan.
10 Our days may come to seventy years,
or eighty, if our strength endures;
yet the best of them are but trouble and sorrow,
for they quickly pass, and we fly away.
11 If only we knew the power of your anger!
Your wrath is as great as the fear that is your due.
12 Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
13 Relent, LORD! How long will it be?
Have compassion on your servants.
14 Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days.
15 Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
16 May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
17 May the favor[a] of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
How did Moses describe God’s view of time (see v.4)?
How did Moses describe humans’ view of time (v. 10)?
What did Moses conclude about the way we should use our time on earth (v. 12)?
Somehow we know our time, no matter how brief it may be, is highly important. We know our life and what we do with it matter. We know God, who set this whole thing in motion with a quick spin of the globe, passionately watches over this place dubbed Earth. He cares what happens to me and to you. He cares about what we do with our days and our moments He has given us.
However, God doesn’t want us to fret about today or tomorrow (see Matt. 6:3-4)*. Although this life will allow us to make an impact for all eternity, good or bad, it’s only the starting point.
So here we are, temporarily fixed by time. We built our lives trying to accomplish much and trying to help our family succeed, but this grand structure of a life we envisioned now suddenly seems more like a prison. We are stressed and overwhelmed, and we want out.
By constantly remaining busy, we are hurting ourselves and others. How long can this continue? How fast are we able to go until something falls apart? What will be the breaking point? The frantic way we do life cannot be sustained.
Of course, you already know this. You understand that you are at risk. You see that the ability to “have time” is dwindling in your life. The day has become way too full. Time has become a luxury to you. And you don’t want it that way. You want something different.
And yet something less.
Less is More.
* Matthew 6:34
34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.