The Perfect Time-Manager

What do you spend most of your time doing? If you were to take a blank schedule, every hour and every day of the week marked out, and filled it in with what you did this past week, what would stand out?

  • Work, probably – 40+ hours
  • Sleep, even more so – maybe 35+ hours (hopefully!)
  • Time with spouse and family, hopefully
  • Time with friends
  • Probably a lot of “down time” on your particular hobbies.
  • Exercise and eating (don’t try to do both simultaneously!)

Odds are, if you were to write down everything, you would be surprised – “Wow, I really spend a lot of time with my best friend Netflix!” “Eek, I really am very selfish with my time.” “Boy howdy, most of my life is just sleep and work!”

It’s easy to feel guilty about how we use our time – after all, we are a scheduled, time-saving sort of society. We measure life in hour increments and there’s a big push for good time-management, whether Christian or secular.

It’s so easy to get legalistic or too rigid about the whole thing. I know I do – I sequester devos and prayer and time with my wife and even discipleship relationships to a designated space on the schedule, not realizing that true relationships can never be put into a box on the calendar.

What are we to do? We are all pretty bad at time-management. And we know it, at least if we stop and think about it. I think one thing we must do when feeling guilty or overwhelmed with managing time is to look to Jesus. Come to think of it, that’s a good strategy for any life problem!

Getting on Jesus’ Schedule

Mark 1:21-39 presents a typical day for Jesus, especially early on in His ministry. Glancing through it, you get a glimpse of how Jesus spent His time:

  • He taught people (vs. 21) – certain ones of us have this responsibility also.
  • He cast out demons (vs. 25) – er, can’t schedule this into my calendar.
  • Spent time with disciples (vs. 29) – and note, he hand-selected just twelve out of a group of many. We don’t have time to spend with every single person!
  • Did personal healings (vs. 30) – took His time to heal Peter’s mother-in-law.
  • Ate and rested at a house while the healed woman served them (vs. 31).
  • Healed many, many, many – busy, busy, busy! (vs. 32-34). The whole city came out to Him!
  • Rose early in the morning (apparently He slept, vs. 35) – sleeping is a good, godly thing that even the SON OF GOD did!
  • Prayed (vs. 35) – again, the Son of God made time for this early in the morning after an exhausting day!
  • Prioritized – left Capernaum even though there were more people to do good for there (vs. 38). In other words, He did not do all the good, all the healings, all the demon-destroying He could have done in one place.

What do we learn from all this for our time management?

  • We can’t do everything – even Jesus selected just twelve and healed many but not all.
  • Time with God is CRUCIAL.
  • Don’t feel bad about eating, resting, and sleeping – if you don’t, you won’t have any ability to do good for others.
  • But DO GOOD for all those God places in your path – and this will mean you WILL be busy! Just make sure it’s busy with doing good for others, not for yourself.

Guilt Calendars vs. Grace Calendars

But if we’re careful, now we feel under more compulsion to get busy, busy, busy and then watch ourselves fall short, waste time, not be able to do all we should, and then feel guilty about it.

Here’s the good news – nobody ever gets all their to-do list done except God (as Tim Challies wrote in his helpful book, Do More Better). And what’s more, you are a sinner. And will be until the new kingdom! Which means you will never have a day of perfect time-management. You will always fail.

How encouraging…

But guess what? There is One who was the perfect time-manager. Christ never wasted time. He did the exact amount of good deeds as was required in the Law and by His Father. He did not neglect a single thing He should have done. He did not waste a single moment.

He kept the Law perfectly – what you could never do! And then He died for all our sins, including all our sinful time-wasting or good-neglecting in our schedules! He paid for your sinful calendar, today and all days!

And what’s more, for those who accept Him, He promises to transform them and give them His Spirit to motivate them to be better at managing time for His glory. He is remaking us into good time-managers, day after day.

That’s good news for guilt-ridden goobers like you and me who feel guilty every day for what we did or didn’t do.

Christ lived a perfect life with a perfect schedule. He died for our imperfect schedules. And He is remaking us into people with God-glorifying schedules.

Rest in that, believer.

The Wisest Man Who Ever Lived

Who is the wisest man who ever lived?

This is a kid Sunday-School type question. Easy answer, right? “Solomon.” Duh! 1 Kings 4:30 and 10:23 certainly say he was wiser than any other king or “wise guy” on earth at that time.

But wait, have we been getting this easy answer wrong?

The answer is actually: “Jesus Christ.”

As mentioned before, I’ve been reading a couple books on the life and sayings of Jesus, including two by Jared C. Wilson (one of my favorites) – Your Jesus Is Too Safe and The Story-Telling God (focusing on His parables). And one of His attributes has really jumped out at me.

Jesus is a very wise person!

We often don’t think of Jesus this way. Sure, He was “good” and “holy” and “super nice” and “sometimes angry” – all attributes that would pop up if we asked any old Sunday School classroom.

But Jesus the wise man? Not top of our lists.

But not only was He wise – He was the wisest man of all time! Yes, wiser and smarter than any inventor, any scientist, any philosopher, any supposed “genius” of our time and before. Yes, wiser than Solomon! Indeed, in Matthew 12:42, Jesus calls Himself “greater than Solomon.”

Men, that would be very prideful if you tried to tell your wife that. She would probably slap you and remind you that women are always right.

But Jesus could say that – because He was God! I think we sometimes forget this KEY TRUTH to Christianity, what makes us so incredibly different from all other religions – we believe God became a man! Do we believe that God knows all things? Is God wise? Of course! Then Jesus, Himself God, is wise. Jesus, Himself fully man, is the wisest man.

Then why don’t we think of this about Jesus? Because we probably have spent more time in awe of His miracles (and rightfully so!) than in awe of His conversations and speeches. Think about Sunday Class lessons again – do we have a lot of lessons to kids on the Sermon on the Mount or on Jesus’ conversations with Pharisees and Sadduccees. Probs not. Do we have lessons on the feeding of the 5,000 or walking on water or raising Lazarus? Of course!

It’s of course not a problem to talk about Jesus as powerful – He certainly was (and is). But He is also very wise – yes, the wisest! And we see that so clearly in His speeches.

How so? Consider these categories:

  1. Jesus’ Conversations with Would-Be Followers – probably the best examples of this are found in John. Consider how He talks with His first disciples in John 1 (and tells Nathanael He saw him under a fig tree!). Consider how He reasons with Nicodemus in John 3. Then in one of my favorite stories of Jesus, how He talks with the woman at the well in John 4. Consider the words He uses in just those two chapters – 3 and 4. His conversation with Nicodemus is very different from the one with the woman, but in both He reveals Himself as the Messiah and One who cares about saving people. But unlike us, He knows just which questions to ask which, just which Scriptures and truths to tell which, and just how to reveal Himself to them – even what mental pictures to use (being born again, water in a well, etc.). Compare this to our “wisdom” – I stumble over my words just in an ordinary conversation on the phone with a telemarketer, much less with someone I am trying to share the Gospel with! I’m reading an excellent book called Meet the Skeptic that addresses how to talk to unbelievers and it’s so helpful. But I have no doubt that I’ll forget many ideas and make mistakes next time I talk with my unsaved friends – I’m an awkward conversation-starter, continuer, and ender. We all are. But not Jesus!
  2. Jesus’ Conversations with Adversaries – Jesus talks with and confronts the Pharisees, Sadducees, and other enemies in the second portions of most of the Gospels (when He is in Jerusalem close to being arrested). Consider just one chapter – Mark 12. Here, Jesus expertly deflects the Herodians’ trap of who to pay taxes to, then deflates the Sadducees’ theology on the resurrection, and then stumps everyone with a question about the true identity of Messiah. Compare this wisdom in conversation with our apologetic conversations with people of other religions (or no religion at all). We hem and haw and stutter, trying to think of all our research. Jesus is calm, cool, and collected and gives the perfect answer every time, leaving His enemies with jaws on the ground.
  3. Jesus’ Parables. I could go on and on here and recommend Wilson’s book above for more. But Jesus looks at an audience of somewhat-uneducated, “backwater” Galileans and instead of waxing eloquent about deep theology (which He is capable of doing and does in certain contexts), He tells them stories that they could all understand know – well, that is, if they had “ears to hear.” Ironically, it seems like more uneducated fishermen “got” these stories, simple and straightforward as they were, than the religious elites with all their pompous knowledge. He used word-pictures from daily life – farming, animals, parenting, losing something, shepherding, etc.

And we haven’t even looked at His major speeches, like the Olivet Discourse, the Sermon on the Mount/Plain, and His Last Supper Discourse. Every speech He makes, it seems people are awed by His authority and wisdom. “No one ever spoke like this!” they’d say (John 7:46). Indeed, no one ever has.

And when I look at my feeble attempts at wisdom in my words and so many “innocent” stammering and down-right wicked gossiping or lying, I’m amazed at a man who never was stumped, who never backed down from the truth, who knew just what to say (or not say) in every situation, who could talk with a religious elite one day and a Samaritan woman the next.

Jesus is the wisest man who ever lived. And boy howdy, do I need wisdom!

That’s why I’m glad He’s my Savior, my Rescuer, my Restorer, and my Friend. And He promises to give me His wisdom if I ask (James 1:5).