Pastor’s ponderings

Here we are at the beginning of July.  It’s hard to believe that 2023 is already half over with. Six months have gone by and before we know it, the rest of the year will be as well.  Time just slipping on by one minute, one hour, one day at a time; the clock just keeps on ticking.

For many years in my youth and early adulthood one of the primary lessons that seemed to be taught was about time management – how to carefully use those days, hours, and minutes in order to be most effective; to not let one of them slip by and be wasted.  We were always challenged to account for each and every segment of time, utilizing them to ensure that they were productive and able to make a difference in the world.  I wonder, do we still do so today? 

During the hot and humid days of summer, we often want to take things down a notch.  We want to relax and have fun.  We lounge by the pool or on the beach.  We take to the docks or boats to cast a fishing line.  We take personal and family vacations to escape the chaos of daily life that we find the rest of the year.  Yet, what happens when those days or weeks are over?  Do we jump right back into the fray, re-energized for what lies ahead?  Often, I hear that people are more tired after a vacation than they were beforehand.  Due to the myriad of activities we try to cram into our time off, we make ourselves even more exhausted than we were before.

When I took a week off a couple of weeks ago, I had big plans.  My “to do” list covered a full page. Things that I had not yet gotten done that I wanted to take care of while I was not working my way through the week of my usual pastoral duties.  Yet do you know what happened?  That week I didn’t accomplish a single one of those tasks.  The list was primarily a bunch of outdoor work, and it rained nearly every day, so I couldn’t accomplish a single one of them.  Even more ironically, here we are a couple of weeks later and still none of them are done, even though the weather has gotten a bit nicer.  I got caught up in other things, and so the list just sat there.

How many things have you placed on the backburner and have left undone in recent days, weeks, or even years?  Perhaps it’s some basic chores or some routine maintenance on the house or car.  Maybe it’s a particular project you wanted to do or going to a certain place to visit and experience.  We all have them – the “to do” list that just doesn’t seem to get accomplished because of our poor time management.

The scary part is that this also applies to our faith journey. Where in your day do you make time for God?  When do you pray, read your Bible, and/or serve your neighbor?  Too often, I think, we unfortunately find ourselves putting God further down the daily list of priorities, hoping to get to Him at some point in the near future.  Due to our poor time management, God ends upon the backburner.

A Psalmist once wrote, “So teach us to count our days that we may gain a wise heart” (Psalm 90:12).  Perhaps that needs to be our focus moving forward – a way of centering ourselves on time management in which God is at the center, even the beginning of all that we do.  The Bible teaches that we are to tithe the first 10% of what we have, and this applies to our time as well.  Can we give God the first six minutes of every hour, or the first 2.4 hours of every day?  In what ways can we manage our time so that God comes first in all that we do?  Perhaps that is something we should consider the next time we find ourselves binge-watching a show on our favorite streaming service, or mindlessly scrolling through social media for an extended period of time.

Time is precious and we’ll never get it back once it has gone by.  So, how can you most effectively use your time to fulfill the Greatest Commandments of loving God and loving neighbor?

Pastor Steve

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