In the same vein of thought with yesterday’s post about “What Do Your Stats Say?” another worthy question for us would be what does your schedule say? To be an effective person, you have to control your time. If your schedule has not been determined then days will get frittered away and wasted or they end up being consumed with the well described tyranny of the urgent. The man who masters his time will master his life. Go buy you one of the cheap Timex watches that have the number 1440 on it and then wear it. When you glance at the time you will forced to remember that every day has 1440 minutes. How you spend those minutes make all the difference in the world.
Malcolm Gladwell pointed out the 10,000 Hour Rule in his book, Outliers, and how that concert violinists, professional pianists, and master chess players were those who had the discipline to spend 10,000 hours working to become what they were. You may think that 10,000 hours is a long time but when broken down it is really a ten year time frame where you spend about 20 hours a week with whatever discipline you are pursuing. Just think what might happen to you if you were to determine to begin spending 20 hours a week on your primary calling—preaching the Word? It is the most important and effective way that you can lead and direct a church. Such efforts add to the health, vision, and general well-being of the church.
The big question for a lot of preachers would be ‘where is your time going?’ In my thoughts, where your time is being spent is a huge matter of faithfulness. It is good to develop a rigid schedule that you follow to pull every bit of the ability that God longs to get out of us. If you don’t have a schedule, you will find that the demands of small things will consume the large priority of life. I remember J. T. Pugh in a seminar one time talking about the man who couldn’t get up and get going every day. By the time he made it out of bed around 10 or so, his day was already half-way gone and little could be accomplished. Brother Pugh then shared with us that he was very big on a disciplined approach to time. He told us that we should know our time and that it is the one commodity that cannot be saved; it can only be spent during that particular time frame. I have often quoted him from that particular seminar when he told us that “time is the coin of life, don’t let a fool spend it for you.”
To be effective, you must budget your time just as you would budget your money. Last year about this same time, I wrote a series of blogs about various preachers and their habits of preparation and while they all were varied in their approaches, the key was that all of these men were disciplined with their time. (The posts follow: Jeff Arnold, Scott Graham, Doug White, Jason Calhoun, John Carroll, Ben Weeks, J. H. Osborn.)
More often than not our time can get out from under us if we are not diligent about it. I remember a time management seminar that I once went to and the speaker was talking about the necessity for ministers to have a schedule. The argument was raised by one man that he did not want a schedule because it would confine him and not allow him to respond to the needs of the people he was serving. The speaker began to dismantle that view by showing the man how much time he was wasting as he was in his self-described wait mode. This is the sin of the convenient season.
J. C. Ryle—Laziness and frivolity are bad enough in any profession, but worst of all in that of a watchman for souls.
Every day needs to be filled with time for prayer and study. In fact, I strongly believe that the most important thing that I do for the church I pastor are fulfilled in those two areas. The congregations need most of all to see a godly example of purity, holiness, and a life that points them God-ward. This will not take place unless a man gives himself to prayer and the Word. In addition to this there are other components of leading a church—meetings of various sorts, hospital visits, etc.—and all of these have time factors involved.
What if I were to walk with you through your week, would I recognize your passion as being focused on God and His work or would your schedule tell me otherwise?
Do you consistently set aside blocks of time to prepare yourself spiritually and mentally for the task of preaching?
Do you guard your schedule from distractions that hinder this?
Are you willing to have the courage to decline some meetings that are going to waste time even though they may not be inherently wrong?
Do your recreational pursuits overwhelm your spiritual pursuits?
Do you waste large amounts to time clicking from one website to another? (Even this blog that I appreciate you reading, it can still waste your time.)
What do our schedules say about our passions and priorities?
I will not exhaust you with further questions but I would encourage you to see where your time is going. There are many different websites concerning time management that might be helpful for you.