The Bible gives us at least five tips for how we can manage our time in a God-honoring way. In this post we’ll at the third.
Tip #3: Learn to say no.
Once you start budgeting your time and fixing your priorities, Satan will start working overtime to derail your prioritized time budget, because Satan knows that someone who takes their time seriously is going to make a serious impact on this world for Jesus. So he’s going to throw activity after activity and opportunity after opportunity your way in an attempt to derail your prioritized time budget. And he will succeed, unless you learn, as Jesus did, how to say “no.” Let me explain…
We read in Mark 1:35-38, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” [in other words – come on Jesus, come give them some of your time] 38 [But] Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” In other words, Jesus said: No.
Here’s what usually happens to people. They say “yes” to the wrong things and then as a result they have to say “no” to the right things.
- Someone says yes to an extravagant lifestyle, then they have to say no to the special annual Christmas offering (or to tithing).
- Someone says yes to a traveling sports team, then they have to say no to serving at church.
- Someone says yes to four hours of TV in the evening, then they have to say no to spending time with God in the morning.
- Someone says yes to the Parent Teacher Organization or to serving on the School Board, then they have to say no to being in a growth group.
We need to learn to say “no” to the wrong things so that we can say “yes” to the right things! Jesus said no to Simon Peter’s request in order to say yes to something more important (preaching in the other villages). Like Jesus we have to learn say “no” to the wrong things so that we can say “yes” to the right things. The word “no” is such an easy word to learn but such a hard word to say. But friends, the best time management tool is “no.” I read somewhere that “God does not give people more than they can handle, but people regularly assume responsibility for things they should not be doing.” So if you have to say to something good that you know God wants for your life, know that it’s not because you’re too busy, it’s because you’ve said yes to something you shouldn’t have.
If you’re in this position, we’ll address what to do about it in tomorrow’s post, so be sure to check back then (Thursday).