Question: "What does the Bible say about time management?"
Answer: Time management is important because of the brevity of our lives. Our earthly sojourn is significantly shorter than we are inclined to think. As David so aptly points out, “You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man’s life is but a breath” (Psalm 39:4-5). The apostle James echoes this: “You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14). Indeed, our time on earth barely registers on the eternal radar screen. To live as God would have us live, it is essential we make the best possible use of our allotted time.
Moses prays, “Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12). A good way to gain wisdom is to learn to live each day with an eternal perspective. Our Creator has set eternity in our hearts (Ecclesiastes 3:11). Knowing that we will have to give an account to the One who gives us time should motivate us to use it well. C. S. Lewis understood this: “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did the most for the present world were just those who thought most of the next.”
In his letter to the Ephesians, Paul cautioned the saints, “Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:15-16). Living wisely involves using our time carefully. Knowing that the harvest is great and the workers are few, and that time is rapidly dwindling should help us make better use of our time to witness.
There is no doubt that the responsibilities and pressures of this world scream for our attention. The myriad of things pulling us in different directions makes it all too easy for our time to get swallowed up in mundane, lesser matters. Those endeavors which have eternal value, then, often get relegated to the back burner. To avoid losing focus, we need to prioritize and set goals. Additionally, to whatever extent possible, we need to delegate. Recall how Moses’ father-in-law Jethro wisely taught him to delegate some of his heavy work load (Exodus 18:13-22).
Regarding our work ethic, we need to recall that God did all of His work in six days and rested on the seventh. This ratio of work to rest sheds light on our Creator’s expectations relative to our own work ethic. Indeed, Proverbs 6:10-11reveals the Lord’s disdain for slothful behavior: “A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come on you like a bandit” (see also Proverbs 12:24; 13:4; 18:9; 20:4; 21:25; 26:14). Furthermore, the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) illustrates the tragedy of wasted opportunity as well as the importance of laboring faithfully until the Lord comes.
We need to place our focus on that which is eternal as opposed to the fleeting pleasures of this passing world. Accordingly, we should move forward with diligence and divine purpose as the courses of our lives progress toward God’s ultimate goal. We are to accomplish as much as we can with the time He has given us. We will be eternally rewarded for investing our time in good works (1 Corinthians 3:14). We should live as if each minute counts – because it really does.