Using Our Time Wisely

 Go to the ant, you sluggard, and consider her ways and be wise.”  (Proverbs 6:6)

I love this scripture and have written on it once before. Though ants can be annoying, they are pretty smart. The Bible continues to point out that the ant has no one over it, no captain, overseer, or ruler, but it continues to work for its supplies in the summer and gathers its food in the harvest. The ant does what it needs to do to survive and uses its time wisely so it will be able to live. The ant does well both working alone and as a team to complete the mission.  We can learn a lot from ants in work ethics and using time wisely, but we must also be balanced in work and rest as God shows us in Genesis.

As the days go by, and we remain in our homes self-isolating, we may find it more difficult to want to keep moving. The lure of everything we have at our disposal that we enjoy becomes important to us to pass the time. We have our tv’s, movies, computers, cellphones, games, food, and other things that bring us happiness and contentment. However, too much of a good things is not always good.

In our lesson today, the following areas will be covered: 1) Using our time wisely 2) Idleness vs relaxing 3) Do not get tired of doing good   4). Change within ourselves

It is important that we use our time wisely every day because we don’t know from day to day what situations may arise. How many times has company come to your home without notice and you looked around at your home to see a VERY lived in look (putting it nicely). Know that I am raising my hand right along with you! How many times have you put off doing something important to the very last minute and find yourself scrambling to get it done before the deadline or worse yet, turning it in late? How many times did you hear about the warnings of bad weather (in many places it’s a yearly event so preparing should be part of your routine), or worse yet, a pandemic, and waited until the very last minute to prepare only to find out the things you need are sold out and you can only get a few things here or there? Using time wisely is extremely important and can remove a lot of extra stress from our lives. We can even use our time wisely when it comes time to relax as well.

For many people, it can be difficult for them to find the time to relax. Their lives are busy with work, family, outside activities and even ministry work and trying to add in some down time can be difficult. Then when you do find the time, your mind isn’t focused on it. For me, I’ve often said my off switch is broken. As soon as I sit down to relax and do what’s enjoyable to me such as reading, praying or watching a movie with my husband, my mind is suddenly filled with things I have to get done and I sometimes have to fight to enjoy my down time. We all need time to rest and relax in order to get away from the stressors of life. This can mean time away from people, situations, schools and workplaces. How many times have you said “if I just had some time…”? I know we have all said “if I could just get away for a while and relax, I would feel better”. Finding that time to relax is good for our health, spiritually, physically and emotionally. That is why we must remember to include in our down time spending time with God. Everyone needs time to relax and connect with God to receive His wisdom, guidance, peace and comfort. He will renew our strength and we see this in Isaiah 40:29-31:

He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.

Have you ever noticed that there are a few thought processes that can happen when we get away for awhile. We either love it so much, we dread getting back to the grind of life or we find that we can only sit idle or relax for so long and we can’t wait to get back to our normal life. Yet for others, it may be just what they needed in order to keep them going. This is where we must strive to be. We don’t want to dread going back to our normal lives because we will become miserable when we do go back to work/school. Yet we don’t want to cut our time short and go back to our normal lives early because we will miss out on the benefits that relaxing gives to us.

So yes, it is important that we use our time wisely. When we take or are given the time to relax, we must use it properly in order to gather the strength we need to continue on in our day to day lives.

In such a time as this, however, when many must be at home due to self-isolation, you must still use your time wisely to get things done that you were unable to do while you were working and taking care of your family. Completing projects can lift a big weight off your shoulders and will help make going back to work much easier and without the weight of those projects on your mind. Yet there is a downside to this self-isolation outside of boredom, and that is idleness. Though many will become quickly bored of self-isolating, some may come to like it to the point of becoming idle. When we are idle, we simply are inactive; we don’t move…aka laziness. We may think to ourselves “ok, this is my time to relax since I work so hard normally” and with the lure of everything we have in our homes plus getting to sleep in, many may come to enjoy it. It can be appealing. But what are the downsides to idleness? Health issues, fatigue, moving more slowly and soon becoming sucked into the thoughts and issues of the world. We can lose a sense of purpose in our lives because we feel there is nothing else for us to do. Day to day life soon becomes robotic…get up, eat, move around the house, do a couple things, repeat a couple more times and go to bed. For a Christian who can’t get out to participate in ministry work, bible studies and church services, this may feel like an unfulfilling time for them. Though we know we must continue reading the Word and praying, it is difficult not being able to connect with others face to face. Yet, this is the life of many right now.

Though this is a difficult and fearful time for many, you must remember that you still have a purpose! The measure of our life does not consist of just going to stores, shopping and eating out which seemed to be some of the biggest concerns for many people. It consists of much more than this. It’s not about us but about others.  The measure of life isn’t about work, kids activities, appointments or worldly things. It’s about what we can do to make someone else’s life better, even if it’s a kind word. I posted a couple weeks ago, that when I go to the store or getting groceries curbside at a store, I began praying for God to cover the people who are helping me and their co-workers. Before I leave, I then let them know they have been prayed for and that I will continue praying for them. This isn’t to make me look good, but to bring comfort to them in knowing that they are not forgotten and that someone is praying for them. They need to know this at this time because they are scared and concerned. Here’s the thing, this situation we are all in may have hindered us from doing some things, but it hasn’t stopped us from completing the mission Christ has called us to do. It may seem like you are bound but you really aren’t because with Christ you have true freedom and no one can take that away from you. You have the freedom to continue loving others, speak a kind word, share the gospel, doing good to others (such as those who continue to serve others in their jobs or those making face masks for medical facilities!), calling to check on people, and so on. Our lives may have slowed down in ways, but the mission is still the same. That hasn’t ended!

Finally, there are many who must continue working during this time. They must make sacrifices to make sure others are cared for. They are working even harder to meet the cause. They put themselves in danger by doing this work yet they continue on with it. They are tired, worn out and may even have thoughts of walking away from their jobs and from their faith. The Apostle Paul gives us a message in 2 Thessalonians 3:13:

But as for you brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.”

We also are told in Galatians 6:9-10:

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10 Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

 Though you are tired, do not grow wearing in doing good. Though you may feel ignored, do not grow weary in doing good. Though you feel unappreciated, do not grow weary in doing good. Though you are making many sacrifices for others, do not grow weary in doing good. Though you may be witnessing others doing wrong, do not grow weary in doing good. Though you may be dealing with persecution, do not grow weary in doing good. Though our current situation may seem hopeless, do not grow weary in doing good. Why? Because that is what Christ calls us to do, to continue doing good in good times and bad. Do not focus on what you see on the surface, but place your focus on the One who has called you to the job you are doing at this time. You are there because you are the best person for your position. Stand firm on the Word and Christ will not only sustain you and provide for your every need, He will direct your path as well.

We must use our time wisely every day. We must learn how to be prepared for different situations and we do so by listening to God and to warnings we hear from Him and those He puts into place to help us. Take the time to seek God and see how He wants you to use your time wisely in every area of your life. Ask Him to show you the changes you may need to make within yourself to have His characteristics. We all need to have negative characteristics removed from us and replaced with more godly ones. What are God’s characteristics? We find them in Galatians 5:22:

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace longsuffering (patience), kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…”

When we do this, we will be better able to handle whatever situations come our way and will have more patience to wait on God’s rescue.