You see a link to an interesting article and “click.” The page quickly loads, and to your dismay, all you see is line after line of text. It’s 8 point font, Times New Roman, and stretches from edge to edge across your screen. Your interest quickly disappears and you move on to the next exciting headline.
Sometimes we’re like that writer. We fill our days with 8 point text, with little attention to focus, and no room for margin. Each day, we turn the page in the story of our lives and find yet another page jam-packed with activities and to-dos. Our time seems to disappear even before we start our day. We just don’t have time to do everything.
Or do we?
Ironically, time is the world’s only resource that has been distributed equally. Every person, from CEO to field worker, has 24 hours in a given day. You cannot save time in a bank nor can you borrow time in advance. Time cannot be sped up or slowed down. It passes one second at a time, and then it’s gone, never to be used again.
At twenty-six years of age, statistics indicate that I have another fifty-two years to live. That’s comforting, at least right now. However, in another twenty-six years, I’ll be well past my mid-life crisis and will wonder where the time went.
Billy Graham recognized our tendency as young adults to disregard the brevity of time.
“If someone had told me when I was twenty years old that life was very short and would pass – just like that – I wouldn’t have believed it. And if I tell you that, you don’t believe it either. I cannot get young people to understand how brief life is, how quickly it passes.” 
So on one hand, we live as if there were no tomorrow. On the other hand, we live as if we have all of a lifetime before us. This combination steals today of its joys and tomorrow of its effectiveness.
Lately, God has been teaching me some important lessons about time. Yesterday was a prime example. I started out my day with a phone call that cut into my college study time. I was determined to make up for the lost study time later in the day, but that never happened. To my embarrassment I forgot a scheduled appointment, which then caused me to get started at work fifteen minutes late.
On days like yesterday, I need to be reminded that God has given us enough time to do His will. He will never give us a task without providing the resources that we need to complete it. This does not mean that everything will go as we planned. There will be times that we plan our ways and then He redirects our steps. However, we can always be sure of one thing: God has a purpose for our life on earth, and that means He has a purpose for the very minute that we are living right now.
Jesus lived His short life surrounded by endless ministry opportunities. He gave of His time and energy without reserve, from dawn until dusk, but there were always more people, more opportunities, and more needs. Israel was still a needy place when Jesus came to the end of His three-year tenure. However, He could confidently say, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do” (John 17:4, NKJV).
Jesus didn’t meet every need, but He did finish the will of His Father.
Something else that I am learning is the importance of focus. When we say, “I don’t have enough time,” we are really admitting that we’ve taken a wrong turn. Either we are trying to do something that God has not called us to do, or we are not using our time wisely.
Focus is simply investing our time wisely, and that is only getting harder as the years go by. Google earned 110 billion dollars last year from advertisers willing to pay for our attention. Facebook grew from a small college-based project into a company worth 571 billion dollars after figuring out how to capture large chunks of our time. Telemarketers want our time. Salesmen want our time. It’s a valuable resource, and you and I get to decide how we use it.
No matter what stage of life we are in, there will always be plenty of ways to use our time. That is why we must learn “to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12, NKJV). We must ask ourselves, “What is God calling me to focus on? What are my priorities?”
Perhaps the greatest mind shift for me has been embracing rest. I recently read the book “Reset” by David Murray. All throughout the book, he uses the analogy of a car in a repair bay. Murray points out that we, like cars, must be taken care of in order to run well. We must keep our tank full and our engine oiled. Otherwise, we will not be able to make it from point A to point B.
Our ability (or inability) to rest goes beyond our physical health. It directly affects our relationship with God. Murray puts it well:
“God designed this pattern of six days of work and one day of rest for perfect people in a perfect world. How much more do we need it now in such fallen bodies in such a fallen world? This is a divine gift for our good, as Jesus said: ‘The Sabbath was made for man’ (Mark 2:27). It’s needed now more than ever before, considering that in the last twenty years working hours in the United States have increased 15 percent and leisure has decreased 30 percent.” 
As Anabaptists, we’re known for our strong work ethic. From little on up, we’ve learned to carry our own share of the load, to do the hard things and reap the rewards. Family men work 60-80 hours a week, pastors run their own business while shepherding their congregation, and wives garden, can, homeschool, sew their own clothes, help out on the farm, and raise 5-10 children all at once. But have we learned to rest well?
How about you?
Over the past year, God has been stretching and growing me in my use of time. I have to keep reminding myself that I do have enough time – no, not enough time for every opportunity that comes my way, but enough time to finish the will of my Father. I need to focus on what’s important in life and ask God to show me what’s important to Him. I have to remind myself to rest, both physically and spiritually. That means being like Mary and sitting at Jesus’ feet, even when there are plenty of “to do’s” on my list and a Martha breathing down my back.
How about you? What are some things that you have learned about how you use your time? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
--Written by: I.M.
It is fascinating to study how God called various people in the Bible. We have the accounts of Noah, Abraham, Moses, the judges, the prophets, the disciples and Paul. What is so interesting is that each one was called in a unique way for a specific work. As we ponder the various ways that God called, we can only conclude that He is infinitely innovative. He always operated within the bounds of His revealed nature, yet His methods defied human expectation and predictability. And He is still doing the same today!
Think of your own calling to serve where you are today or even your salvation experience. Have you met anyone else who was called in the exact same way? God refuses to let man confine Him to a box or pour Him into a mold of our choosing. Thus, His calls to individuals for salvation or service are as unique as the individuals themselves.
When God called Jeremiah He said, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” Since God has created us and kept us in His providential care, He suits each call to the personal traits and circumstances He has created for us.
In John 21 Jesus reaffirms Peter’s call to be the “rock” upon whom He would build the church, even after his disastrous betrayal. I am sure that after Peter failed His Lord in such a monumental way, he doubted there was any chance that Jesus could use him. And yet we see Jesus lovingly restoring Peter by asking him three times, “Peter do you love me?” Jesus finishes up their dialogue with the words, “Follow me.” What does Peter do? He immediately looks around, sees John and asks Jesus, “What shall this man do?”
Oh, how often do we look at our brother or sister and ask that same question? When we feel that God’s call is too heavy for us to bear we are tempted to look around at our brother or sister and ask as Peter did, "What about him or her?"
How secure are you in the calling God has placed on your life? Do you look at your brother or sister and think they have it so much easier? Remember, God’s call on your life is unique just as your personality and life experiences are unique. God's call dovetails perfectly with how you were created.
Esther was created and called “for such a time as this” and was faithful to her calling, even willing to die in order to be obedient to the calling God placed on her. And she received a great blessing for her faithfulness.
Consider Samson who is listed among the great heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. The last day of his life, he cried out to God for strength to be avenged for his eyes. God answered his cry and the enemies he destroyed in his final act of obedience were more than the enemies he had destroyed while he had his eyesight. It seems to me that God had so much more for him to do and greater blessings for him to receive if only he would have been faithful to his calling.
Consider your own calling. Have you fully embraced God’s call on your life? It may look so different from anyone else's calling, it may seem so unconventional, or it may seem rather dull. Are you okay with that? Are you willing to lay it on the altar for God’s honor and glory? It is His desire to name you as a hero of faith. Have you fully embraced His calling on your life?
Written by: M.A.