I am fortunate to work in an organization that honors the privilege of sharing weekly devotions. Wednesdays are the day we, as a building, take 20 minutes to hear from the hearts of people who love to share the gospel, an encouraging word, or my personal preference, a great book.
This week was exceptional in that the devotions were presented by someone who works in the youth department for our division. He & I share a kindred spirit of entrepreneurship. You can tell this is intricately woven in his work ethic & leadership roles. It is refreshing to have someone in the 95% realm who reinforces 5% thinking at every level.
I will use an excerpt from his devotion time that adds a twist on a question we routinely ask. Business as well as our J.O.B.’s require strategic management of our time & resources. There are so many great books demonstrating how to organize your time. “Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” enlightened my senses of how time is wasted. When I served as the Singles Director of our church there was a story that I have never forgotten. I’m certain it came from a book I used during a Sunday School semester. The story was told of a man who met an older gentleman still zealous about his life goals. The older gentleman, I’ll call “Sam,” approached the man, I’ll call “Jake,” & begin to ask questions about some of his own goals. Sam told Jake he developed his life goals & wrote them down on an index card. Sam proceeded to pull a tattered, faded, index card out of his wallet. I can remember a few of his goals. One was to travel the world & to date, Sam had visited several continents & his places of interest many times. Another was to be financially independent in which Sam had been debt free for years having quite a nice nest egg. Still another was his health. Sam asked Jake to guess his age. I personally suck at this, so I avoid this question at all costs! Jake guessed a number placing Sam over 20 years younger than his actual age. Jake was intrigued at Sam’s specific intent in accomplishing his goals & inquired how he did it. Sam told Jake his system. Sam takes the index card containing his life goals out daily. He then looks at his schedule for the day & if one thing doesn’t involve accomplishing his goals, he avoids it. This discipline, over time, (slight edge!) has produced the results Sam ventured to gain many, many years before. At the time of reading that story I had just started my journey as a business owner & that completely blew me away. I had a crammed, jammed, filled schedule commanding my attention in 14 different areas. (My number of exaggeration is always 14!! ) Between work, parenting, ministry, business, & an anorexic social life, I was stretched. Since then, I have learned things will either move you closer to or further away from your goals. You have the choice. As Viktor Frankl concluded during his time as a hostage in the concentration camp, between stimulus & response is choice.
What I gather from Sam’s story is that if something doesn’t serve your dreams or goals, don’t entertain it. I have mentioned this before & it bears repeating…..this even includes toxic relationships. Please don’t get me wrong or read anything into this. As humans, these people are valuable in the sight of God. I respect them as that, love them where they are at, but refuse to allow their influence to infiltrate my life in any way. I will never be rude or disrespectful, but I will not devote my quality time in their midst. I have an inner circle of coaches, mentors & leaders who have full reign, while others are peripheral. I have been a people person all my life, but somehow, this has always been a standard practice for me.
The devotional excerpt I want to conclude with is this:
Everyone has 86,400 seconds in a single day to do what they please. We know almost a third of that time is taken away for rest during the night, leaving us with 57,600 seconds to spend & like it or not, we are going to spend it. Sometimes it really helps or motivates us to put things into perspective. Let me show you what I mean by that. If these seconds were pennies, & these pennies were given to us each week, you would have $576 dollars per week given to you extra. If the only rule was that you had to spend those pennies every week, & it didn’t matter how, just as long as you spent them, I’m sure most of use would find a way to do that wouldn’t we? Everyone knows that you can’t get this time back, in fact, we all know that, but why don’t we seem to care?
- Make a to-do list at the end of each day for tomorrow
- From that list, set your priorities
- Question everything. Ask yourself: “Is doing this really important?”
- Avoid clutter. Put things in their proper place. Keep it simple
- Do things with excellence, but avoid perfectionism
- Use a calendar. Helps you see the bigger picture
- Think about your long-term goals: How does each thing fit with your purpose?
Ephesians 5:15-17 (The Message)
11-16Don’t waste your time on useless work, mere busywork, the barren pursuits of darkness. Expose these things for the sham they are. It’s a scandal when people waste their lives on things they must do in the darkness where no one will see. Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the light of Christ.
Wake up from your sleep,
Climb out of your coffins;
Christ will show you the light!
So watch your step. Use your head. Make the most of every chance you get. These are desperate times!
17Don’t live carelessly, unthinkingly. Make sure you understand what the Master wants.