If we are struggling with time management, we can ask the Lord to give us wisdom to recognize where we are lacking, and he will, but we may not like what it reveals. Making good use of our time will often hurt because it interferes with the god-like world we have sometimes created and live in. We often think the world, people, and even God should revolve around us.
In Jonathan Edwards’s seventy resolutions, resolution number 5 states, “Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.” As a bi-vocational pastor, this is a foundational truth I desire to adhere to as well.
Time is something we will never have more or less of. I am in year nine of my third pastorate. The first two were not effective in regard to time management. In fact, in my second pastorate, “burn out” flared up, and this led to my resignation. I was working 50 hours a week, preaching two sermons on Sundays and one on Wednesday evenings, and the church was 35 minutes away. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but I simply resorted to just “winging it” on Wednesdays, heading there in a rush when I would get off work, and a second Sunday sermon was just a half-baked presentation. Now I am older, and maybe wiser I suppose, and I have established a few principals both in my personal life and in the life of the church that have helped me pastor more effectively.
Ephesians 5:15-16a commands, “Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time.” I must always consider how I walk, “to live, to conduct one’s life.” It is very easy to become distracted and not use my time wisely, and as a bivocational pastor, I must have a disciplined time to study for the sermon.
The preaching of God’s Word is the highest honor and responsibility a man can have, and I should not step foot in the pulpit unprepared. I deeply understand that I am responsible for feeding the flock of God. First Peter 5:2 tells me to “shepherd the flock of God among you.” I should not feed them crumbs.
For this reason, I make sure to dedicate a certain amount of time solely to the preparation of the sermon without distraction. If it is in the morning, evening, or breaks during the day, we must be wise about using this time for preparation and not be foolish and waste time on fruitless things.
I learned many years ago that sermon preparation is time consuming. The philosophy of waiting until the last minute to get a message from God because you think it is more spiritual, well, is just foolish. Honestly, we all have preparation time at some point in our day, but often we just do not want to make use of it.
Making the most use of your time, “to redeem,” is to be wise with the time you have been given.