August 2016

From The Pastor's Heart

All of us have been given 24 hours a day, which soon turn into weeks, months, and years— and eventually add up to a lifetime.

By Charles F. Stanley

God has given us a precious gift, which is both irreplaceable and irreversible. Because it’s always with us, we sometimes take it for granted, waste it, or use it foolishly. But what we do with it determines the direction and fruitfulness of our entire life. This amazing gift is our time.

All of us have been given 24 hours a day, which soon turn into weeks, months, and years— and eventually add up to a lifetime. Although the Lord has ordained the number of our days (Ps. 139:16), we generally have the freedom to choose how to use our time. God’s desire is that we would invest it in a manner that allows us to accomplish what He’s planned for us. However, in order to achieve this goal, we need a balanced schedule.

Although some people may consider a schedule restricting, it actually frees us to pursue God’s will without being hampered by other distractions. It’s simply a way to allot increments of time for our various activities and responsibilities. The goal is summed up in Ephesians 5:15-17: “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.”

Remember, we’re not just making a schedule to help us get things done but are organizing our time to achieve what God wants us to do. We live in a pressurized society that can overextend us in some areas while causing us to be neglectful of others. That’s why we need to establish God’s will as our foundation when we plan our days.

The first priority is time alone with the Lord. Before facing the day, we need to spend time in the Scriptures and prayer, seeking God’s direction, aligning our thoughts with His mind, and deepening our relationship with Him. Even Jesus considered this essential. Mark 1:35 says, “In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.” If the Son of God needed time alone with His Father, how much more do we?

If the Son of God needed time alone with His Father, how much more do we?

Next, we must reserve time for relationships. When we enter into marriage, parenting, or friendships, we also assume the responsibility of investing time. Relationships never thrive if we let other activities crowd them out. Jesus always had time for the people in His life, whether it was family, friends, His disciples, or those who needed His help (Mark 6:34).

Third, we should schedule time for work. This is where most of us get off balance. When I first began ministry as a pastor, I thought I was wasting my time and sinning against the Lord if I wasn’t praying, preaching, or preparing sermons. It took me quite a while—and several bouts with illness—to understand that this was not God’s will but my self-made standard. Work is the means by which we provide for ourselves and our families, and we are to do it to the best of our ability as unto the Lord (Col. 3:23). However, if our ambition is to gain approval or riches, work will begin to dominate our time and throw our schedule out of balance.

Jesus always had time for the people in His life.

Fourth, we require time for rest and recreation. God didn’t design our bodies to function without adequate rest. If we shortchange sleep, we’ll lose productivity and creativity throughout the day. King Solomon said, “It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to his beloved even in his sleep” (Ps. 127:2). Another essential element in life is recreation and fun. We all need time to be refreshed and enjoy the blessing God provides.

And finally, we should set aside time for worship and ministry. The author of Hebrews admonishes us with these words: “Let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another” (10:24-25). Something special happens when believers gather to worship the Lord together: God is exalted, our hearts are encouraged, our minds are renewed with the Word, and our bond of love is strengthened. That’s why it’s so important to make time in our schedule for worship and service in a local church. If we isolate ourselves, we’ll have no one to help us in times of trouble and no one to serve with our spiritual gifts.

Although making and maintaining a balanced schedule may seem tedious to some or overwhelming to others, its importance should not be underestimated. The goal is not to become legalistic and unbending, but to be wise in the use of our time. If we carefully consider what God would have us do and allocate our time accordingly, we’re more likely to finish the course Christ has set before us. And isn’t that what we all want—to hear our Lord and Savior say “Well done”?

Prayerfully yours,

Charles F. Stanley

P.S. A top priority for In Touch Ministries is sharing the gospel worldwide through our broadcasts and publications. We hope that you have not only been encouraged in your faith through our ministry, but that you have also been inspired to share your faith in Christ with your family, friends, and neighbors. We are so grateful to have partners like you who join in our mission and support us through your prayers. 


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What happens to my notes

16 Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise,

16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil.

17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.

34 When Jesus went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and He felt compassion for them because they were like sheep without a shepherd; and He began to teach them many things.

23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men,

2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To retire late, To eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

24 and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds,

25 not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

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