Everyone who intends to do hard things has at least one thing in common. That is, the need to make the most of their time. Most people refer to this as “time management.” But that is not really what it is. It’s actually self-management.
When God stopped the sun in the midddle of the sky so that Joshua could finish his battle with the Amorites (see Joshua 10:13), that was time management! We can’t do that. The best we can do is manage ourselves and our moods and our energy levels so as to make wiser decisions about how we invest the time we have.
The keyword here is invest.
When you “have an hour to kill,” as they say (and I do hate that term!), you’re about to make a very important decision.
You have an hour of “free” time. You could spend any way you like. You could waste it trying to beat your best score on a favorite video game. Or you could squander it watching a few more cat videos on YouTube.
But in doing so, you would be putting yourself on a path that leads to a future you won’t like.
Every dumb decision you make is taking you somewhere. One foolish choice at a time the fool is proving to be unwise and unfaithful in the way he or she is using their discretionary time.
People who stay on that path often end up “doing time” in prison somewhere. They cannot be trusted with any discretionary time. A guard is telling them where to be and what to do every minute of the day and night.
On the other hand, if you invest that same free hour in reading a few more chapters in a good book, or in making that important phone call you’ve been putting off out of fear of rejection, or investing that hour in improving the quality of your relationship with someone important, you’re making a much wiser investment.
You are putting yourself on a path that leads to a future you will probably enjoy much more. It is a future that involves ever larger amounts of freedom, in the form of lots of discretionary time.
I know CEO’s who are paid high salaries just to spend their time thinking and imagining the future of their company or organization. They are being paid to “day dream” for the good of their cause. They have proven themselves to be wise with the use of their time, and so they are entrusted with even more time with which to be wise.
This is what the apostle Paul has in mind for us when he writes, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. (Eph. 5:15-17).
Two words for time: “chronos” and “kairos”
There are actually two different Greek words for time in the New Testament. The first is “chronos” which is simply time as the sequence of events.
The second word is “kairos,” which Paul uses in Ephesians 5. Kairos is “opportunity time.” We can call it our “free time.” That makes it “discretionary time.” It is that part of our time that we can choose to redeem for something important as an investment in our own future. God is telling us, through Paul to “make the most of it.” That is biblical “time management.”
For young people who intend to do hard things with their lives, even while they are still teenagers, this issue of time will either make you, or break you.
You already have 24 hours a day to work with. Much of that time is already dedicated to responsibilities in which you have very little choice. But you probably have a few hours in which you are free to do whatever you want. Take care. Be wise.
Make the most of it.