In every 24-hour day, you have a total of 1,440 minutes to spend wisely. Yet, we waste so many of those minutes every day. Women spend 16 minutes each workday deciding what to wear, and 20 minutes per day on the weekend. It is estimated that both men and women spend 20% of their workday (about 2 hours) socializing instead of being productive. The average person spends six weeks every year searching for lost documents and papers they have misplaced. The average commute to work requires a person to spend 46 minutes per day in their vehicle. All of these time wasters are inconvenient and worthy of complaint.
Yet, while we complain about these work-related time squanderers, we waste much more time on personal activities. It is estimated that men spend around 36 minutes every day making purchases, while women spend a whopping 55 minutes each day doing the same. Our television habits are even worse, adding up to a total of 3 hours per day wasted watching new shows and more often reruns (including the news which reruns itself every few minutes, with every commentator saying the exact same thing the one before him said). This includes over an hour of watching TV ads and promotions. What a waste!
Then, we have the gall to complain about how much time it takes to accomplish what we actually want out of life. We will complain that getting out of debt takes too much time and effort. We will complain that our college classes are too lengthy, too boring, and getting a degree takes too many years. New business entrepreneurs complain that it takes too long to get their business right side up financially. So many of us give up on pursuing and accomplishing major steps in our lives solely because we don’t like how much time it will take. Earl Nightingale said, “Never give up on a dream because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”
Unfortunately, it’s not only life and unaccomplished dreams that induce complaints. Our spiritual life is also a source of time-mismanagement. You’ll hear people remark that reading the Bible is too time-consuming. No one has time for praying. It is too inconvenient to call and check on our ailing brothers and weak sisters. There are too many other important things to do on a Sunday instead of worship, like sleeping, watching television, shopping, or catching up on work. We’ve no opportunity to speak to our neighbor, or coworker, or family member about the Gospel because the time just hasn’t been right or available. The reality is that there is next to nothing that should interfere with us being who God has called us to be, or doing the activities that God has called us to do; at least nothing we couldn’t schedule at some other time. We just mismanage ourselves and then God has to sit in the backseat to our hurried and hectic schedules.
The Bible puts it this way. “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is” (Ephesians 5.15-17). We must take back our time if we are to be who God has called us to be. Let’s learn to manage our lives in a wise way that keeps God first as we understand and do His will.