Do you have a love/hate relationship with time? I sure do! In the past, I’ve vacillated between boredom and wondering how to “kill” time, or stress and wondering how to “find” more time. When I was growing up, my mother set an excellent example for me. Even when she relaxed, it seemed that she was doing something constructive. She watched TV and ripped wrong stiches out of a dress she was making. She reserved a minuscule amount of time for reading just before going to bed. (I still think reading is more fun when I should be doing something else!) As a teen, I underlined multiple proverbs in my Bible, urging me to be diligent and imitate the busy ant. Mother’s message had reached my brain, although not always to my hands and feet.
By now you’ve probably guessed this post isn’t about having company over for dinner. But it’s not about time management, either. I started to write it in my head during the early months of the pandemic. At first time weighed heavy. With everything moving online, familiar activities such as church, Bible studies, and writers’ groups took less time.
Soon, though, I saw new needs around me and they filled much of that time. That was fine–up to a point. Sometimes they sucked me dry. Why did needs crop up when I felt the most tired?
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t always follow the Holy Spirit’s promptings to respond to needs, although I usually tried.
A couple months ago, though, I just put my feet up and reclined with one basically frivolous mystery after another. For several days. I don’t binge watch TV, but I can binge read with the best of them. “I can do this. I’m retired,” I told myself.
I’m not retired from Kingdom service. I’m never “off the clock.”
Paul knew the struggle and challenged Timothy, “Never lose your sense of urgency, in season or out of season.” (2 Timothy 4:2, Phillips)
I’m no Paul–not even a Timothy–but their mission is my mission, so I’d often taken the challenge as my own. Now God had given me the chance to experience it on a new level.
I’m never “off the clock.” It’s always “company time.”
I accept the challenge. Lord, may I never lose my sense of urgency!
What about the “sucked dry” part, you ask? Don’t set yourself up for burnout!
Thankfully, the Kingdom works differently from our world. Jesus reminds us to work under his power, not ours, for real results. Paul had a thorn in his flesh to teach him to rely on Christ’s strength. “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” ( 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 NIV)
2 Corinthians 9:8 highlights this sufficiency so well: “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” ( NIV 1984; emphasis mine)
Don’t forget that the Kingdom provides for rest, as well. We serve the God who rested after He created. He cares for sparrows and offers us an easy yoke.
This rest is grace–a provision–not an entitlement. (Preaching to myself!)
I accept the “company time.” challenge! I’m not punching a time clock. How about you?