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Time, Our Most Precious Resource

By William R. Bouknight

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8; Philippians 1:3-6

The country band Alabama put out a song a number of years ago which has this chorus or refrain, describing quite well a common lifestyle of our generation:

I'm in a hurry to get things done

I rush and rush until life's no fun.

All I really gotta do is live and die,

But I'm in a hurry and don't know why.

Time is our most precious resource. It is perishable and irreplaceable.1 God in his grace has given us all the same amount — 24 hours per day. The quality, joy, and impact of our lives are directly related to how wisely we use the time we have.

This does not mean that we have to hurry or hustle through life. At this point I'm really preaching to the preacher, because I am a card-carrying member of TOCA, an acronym for Type-A, Obsessive-Compulsive Association. There are many other TOCA members in this congregation. Many are stressed-out, over-committed, and spread too thinly.

Do you wonder whether you are a TOCA member or not? Here are some clues:

  • If the traffic light turns green and the driver up front waits as long as three seconds to move out, a TOCA member toots the horn.
  • TOCA members like to do two things at once, and doing three things simultaneously is heavenly.
  • A TOCA member's two worst nightmares are a terrorist attack and getting caught in a three-mile-long back-up on I-40.
  • If your boss is a TOCA member and you tell her that you have a problem, she may say, "Sit down and tell me about it. You don't mind if I listen to my voice mail while you talk, do you?"
  • A TOCA member's favorite inventions are e-mail and voice mail, so he can send messages to people 24 hours per day.
  • A TOCA member cannot watch an athletic event on TV unless he has a book, magazine or computer in hand, because the time-outs are vexing.
  • A TOCA member always drives eight miles per hour over the speed limit.
  • As a TOCA member passes someone driving right at the speed limit, he mumbles, "Come on, granny, drive it or park it."
  • If the spouse or girlfriend of a TOCA member says, "Let's take a stroll," he responds, "How long will it take?"

TOCA members have never officially organized, because they're too busy.

In contrast, the Bible never says that Jesus rushed anywhere. He was usually busy, but found time to pray a lot. His total ministry was accomplished in three short years, but he found time to play with children, to investigate a fig tree, to take a nap during a boat ride, to rest at noon-time beside a well, and to attend a wedding reception.

The Bible does not say, "If you hurry, you can catch up with God." It does say, "Be still (or cease your striving) and know that I am God." (Psalms 46:10) Jesus did not say, "Join up with me and I will work you eighteen hours per day." Jesus said, "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) 2 Here are three biblical guidelines for managing time well. Each one starts with the letter "P" — purpose, priority, and plan.

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