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 fourth.
Tip #4: Prune your schedule.
Most of you are doing too many of the wrong things. And you’ll never get to the place where you’re excited about one day giving an account of your life to God until you cut out some of the superfluous activities from your life that are keeping you from making a bigger difference in this world for God.
Jesus put it this way in John 15:1-2, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser [the gardener] 2 Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit.” According to Jesus, the key to bearing more fruit – that is, the key to making a greater difference with your life for eternity, is pruning. And of all the things that need pruning in our lives, at the top of the list is our schedule!
For five years I was part of this senior pastor coaching network led by a pastor named Nelson Searcy. One of the things Nelson would tell us over and over and over is: You are doing too many of the wrong things. You need to make a “stop doing” and “start doing” list. We would put on the “stop doing” list all the things we were doing but shouldn’t be doing and then we’d put on the “start doing” list all the right things we’d have time to do once we stopped doing the wrong things.
So I’d like to give you a homework assignment this week. I’d like each of you to create a “stop doing” list. We all have black holes where our time gets lost. It could be watching TV (the average American watches over 4 hours a day), it could be social media (some spend hours on Facebook or Instagram or whatever), it could be spending an inordinate time in front of the mirror, it could be YouTube (if some people spent as much time reading the Bible as they did watching YouTube videos their spiritual life would be at a whole next level). We all have our black holes. I want you to evaluate them this week to see what needs pruning. In the same way, we all have commitments we’ve made. Some of these we shouldn’t have made. I want you to evaluate all your commitments this week to see which ones you need to cut out of your life.
You should easily be able to spend an hour a day reading your Bible and praying. On Sunday you should easily be able to spend one hour attending service and then another hour serving at a different service. Throughout the week you should be able to easily spend two hours a week with your growth group. If you can’t do these things, that’s an indicator that you’re doing too many of the wrong things, so I want you to ask God this week “What do I need to stop doing?” Here’s why it’s so important that you do this: We are so, so busy now a days – but interestingly enough, people report feeling emptier than ever before. Friends – that’s the barrenness of busyness! Now a days people confuse activity with productivity. But there’s a big difference! We must remember that true productivity is the accomplishment of God given tasks and goals. When we do the right things by God, that’s productivity that leaves us feeling fulfilled. When we do the wrong things, that’s activity, which leaves us feeling empty.
- Doing the right things is energizing! Doing the wrong things is draining.
- Doing the right things is a blessing! Doing the wrong things is a burden.
- Doing the right things is a privilege! Doing the wrong things is an obligation.
You can avoid the barrenness of busyness by periodically pruning your schedule!