Wikipedia defines scarcity as: “… the fundamental economic problem of having seemingly unlimited human wants in a world of limited resources.” Simply stated, if you want to plant corn in your field, you have to forsake planting beans there. If you have ten dollars, you will have to decide whether to spend it on chicken or a new shirt. And if you spend today, say, writing a blog article, your house might not get cleaned. But I digress.
All things, including time, belong to God; we are charged to use it well (Romans 11:36, Ephesians 5:16). Faced with the tyranny of the urgent each day, it is a monumental challenge to wade through all the must do’s and ought to do’s, all the while sighing wistfully about all the things we’ll never get to. What are we to do?
Abide in Me
Martin Luther is famous for remarking, “I have so much to do that if I didn’t spend at least three hours a day in prayer I would never get it all done.” Who knows, perhaps he was exaggerating somewhat, but he definitely understood something I often forget: “apart from the LORD, I can do nothing” (John 15:5). My resources are limited, but I have access to the omni-everything God of the universe, and He answers prayer! How’s your prayer life? Are you walking in self-sufficiency instead of trusting the All-Sufficient One? What steps can you take to change? Remember, no matter how much you get done today, you will bear no fruit apart from Him.
Don’t Waste Your Life
Speaking of prayerlessness, a John Piper quote was going around on the Internet a while back. He said that “one good thing about Facebook and Twitter is they prove that the lack of prayer in Christians’ lives is not due to a lack of time” (and all God’s people said, “Ouch!”).
I read a lot of excellent blogs on the Internet each day, and I regularly use social media to proclaim the Gospel. But add to that private messaging, the news, recipes, videos of cats, and Trivia Crack, and some days I spend WAY too much time online. Sometimes my schedule seems crazy because I have to fulfill all of my responsibilities in the shrinking amount of time after I turn the computer off.
For you, it might not be the Internet. It could be shopping. Or crafting. Or watching movies. Do you have a time hog that needs to die, or at least be better managed?
Whom Shall I Fear?
Do you have a problem saying no when people ask you to do things? Do you crave approval, or long to feel needed and important? These things are fine to want, but when desires become life controlling, they become sinful. People can become our functional gods. “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
Jesus didn’t do everything people wanted Him to do (Mark 3:33, John 11:6). He served everyone well, but He didn’t cater to their every wish. He could not have lived this way if He needed people to like Him; Jesus’ life-giving sustenance was to do His Father’s will, not the people’s (John 4:34). Is this true of you? Will you ask a friend whether you need to grow in this area? Will you ask your husband or a close friend to help you guard your schedule?
The World on Your Shoulders
I know people who could spend all morning sharing the Gospel at the abortion clinic, the afternoon feeding the homeless, lead a Bible study in the evening, and still go to bed with a nagging guilt that they did nothing for the homeless in Tibet that day. Beloved, do you know you don’t need to save the world? That job’s already taken; it’s way above your pay grade. Can you trust the Lord to do it? No one Christian is called to labor against every evil in all the world. You’re not even called to do every job in your church. Be a great hand or a knee or a big toe and let the rest of the body do its job.
Depending on the stage of your life, you may not even be called to lead, teach, or labor anywhere but in your own home. If you have a husband and kids at home, especially if the kids are young, they are your primary ministry. Is your busyness causing you to neglect your family?
Finally, life isn’t all about to-do lists. Your Father has given you all good things to enjoy (1 Timothy 6:17). As Kevin DeYoung recently said, “Open the windows. Keep the kids up. Ride your bike. Jump in the water. Eat some ice cream. Give thanks to God and don’t waste your summer.”