Is there enough time to do God’s will?
After living in different cultural situations and working under a wide spectrum of authority structures, I have come to appreciate what God says in Scripture about time management. His approach to scheduling began to work when I learned to have a servant’s mindset and realized that time can’t be saved, but only spent wisely.
God’s approach to time sufficiently meets the changing needs of the hour, while it also provides much-needed regularity. God is the Creator, and He built the cycles of life into His creation and into our lives according to His design. Recognizing, accepting, and submitting to these cycles has protected me from discouragement and burnout in seasons of serving others. For me, the challenge was finding God’s time to do God’s will.
Recognizing God’s Design for Our Time
Obeying God is different than being a slave to another person, to society in general, or to my own desires. What God asks me to do, He provides for me to do. Scripture states, “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1). Just as it is foolish to think that I can use the time God gives me to do my own will, it is also inconsistent with God’s nature to think that He would reveal His will and not provide the time for it. As my dad says, “There’s always enough time in a day to do God’s will.”
I found that my worries and complaints about not having enough time came from believing the lie that God is not good and that He doesn’t provide the time to do what He has commanded. The truth of the matter is, God is the Creator! He does care. His schedule is consistent with His character and His love for us. That’s exactly what He communicates in Scripture. A Bible-based schedule affords as much time as possible for service, even while it keeps me from compromising my relationship with God. That was a hard lesson to learn, because I had become very project-minded.
Taking One Day in Seven to Rest
For a starting point, my family always set aside one day a week—Sunday—not only to rest, but also to remember and honor God. Devoting the first part of the week to God helped us renew our focus and remember that all time comes from Him. We viewed Sunday as the Lord’s Day.
For me this discipline meant that whatever God brought to my life that day, I would view as coming from Him. By starting the week with this mindset, it was easier to focus on God on Monday and right on through the week.
Understanding the Yoke of Christ
In 1997, when I first felt too-much-to-do-in-a-day pressures, I asked the Lord to give me a “life verse.” In the normal course of my Bible-reading program, I came to Matthew 11:28–30: “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” This passage was exactly what I needed. It challenged me to experience Christ in the midst of my everyday schedule.
Christ’s yoke being “easy” means that it is suitable for me. My service to Christ is what I was made to do. This concept provided insight into the time God provided each day. Why would God reveal His will and not equip me with the time needed to carry it out? Unlike a slave who is merely told what to do and left to find time to do it, our Lord provides what is needed and invites us to work alongside Him and come to know Him in the process. The job He calls us to do is the job He made us for, and we can depend on Him all the way through its execution.
Christ’s burden being “light” means that it has the reverse effect of a physical burden. Instead of weighing me down, it pushes me upward. While serving in various places (especially in Third-World countries), I found that an awareness of my weaknesses drew me into closer fellowship with the Lord and compelled me to draw on His strength and resources.
Starting the Day in the Evening
The daily structure mentioned in Genesis 1 acknowledges that the day begins in the evening: “. . . And the evening and the morning were the first day . . .” (Genesis 1:5). Psalm 104:23 also refers to people working until the evening: “Man goeth forth unto his work and to his labor until the evening.”
Based on this truth, I decided to acknowledge sunset as God’s deadline for a day’s work and the beginning of the next day. Once evening arrived, I deliberately agreed with God that another day was beginning. If I could, I started the evening with prayer, which made it easier to switch gears, wind down, and then enjoy supper or evening time with others. Often I also found time to do my Bible reading for the day.
Trusting God in the Morning
During a time when I was serving away from home, I learned that another team member needed an alarm clock. The Lord prompted me to give him mine and to trust God to wake me up at the right time in the morning. This experience led me to let the Lord decide my rising time completely. From then on, when I woke up I wouldn’t look at the clock; I would simply get up and make my bed. If it was 2 or 3 in the morning, I found there was usually an important use for that time, such as a decision to pray about or some studying to do. Usually, however, I woke up right on time. After becoming physically adjusted, it was natural to wake up at the right time and feel rested.
The Lord has been faithful to keep my waking hours in His hands. I look back over thirteen years of trusting Him in this area, and I don’t have a single complaint. At home, He woke me up early enough to make breakfast. In travel, I never missed a flight. Once He even woke me up in time to help my sister catch her flight when her alarm clock failed to go off.
Taking Time for an Hour of Prayer
Most recently, I’ve been challenged to incorporate a regular hour of prayer in my day. Acts 3:1 refers to Peter and John in the first-century Church keeping an hour of prayer in the middle of the afternoon: “the ninth hour” of the day (between about 3:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.). At first this activity didn’t seem possible for me, but putting it into practice has produced amazing results.
In the midst of running a home business, I have found that having a definite time to stop is very important. Besides, the late afternoon is an excellent time for journaling, reading, or taking care of unexpected things. It serves as a deadline before the final deadline (sunset) and encourages me to be diligent in the middle of the day. It also challenges me to prioritize my tasks.
This time serves as an amazing breakpoint that keeps a single project from becoming too drawn out and provides a much-needed reevaluation period. Many times I’ve remembered something I had forgotten in the busyness of the day, such as a phone call that should be made before business hours are over. Observing the hour of prayer has become an extremely practical scheduling help, because it assigns a time every single day for what I know is most important: fellowship with the Lord.
Giving Thanks for God’s Care and Provision
These experiences have challenged me deeply. My worries and complaints about time were founded in the lie that God is not good or that He doesn’t provide the time to do what He has commanded. God is sovereign; He does care; and His schedule is consistent with His character and His love for us. There is enough time in a day!
The more I learn, the farther it seems I have to go, but I am grateful for the Lord giving me a way to cooperate with Him on a daily basis. Amazingly, this schedule has proved itself very useful, even during vacations, conferences, Saturdays, holidays, times of illness, and those few and far between good old regular days!
May God bless us with hearts that fear Him and grace to abide in the joy of a life lived in cooperation with Him. Remember that with God, there is enough time to do everything He would have us to do.
Related Command of Christ
This testimony illustrates the command of Christ to Follow Me. (See Matthew 4:19.) As Donald sought to obey God and to apply Biblical examples for scheduling, he gained a deeper awareness of God’s provision and wisdom. God is our Creator and He knows what is best for us!