10 Jan Time Bandits
The holidays are long gone and life should be starting to slow down again, right? The question seems almost ridiculous to ask in this fast-paced, do-it-now society we live in. Gone are my childhood days when we went to see grandparents or relatives on Sunday afternoon—where the kids played outside while the adults sat on the front porch, drank sweet tea, and visited.
I must admit that I keep a spiral notebook on my desk that is a continually running to-do list. That is more out of “If I don’t write it down I won’t remember” necessity than anything else. But at the same time it holds a certain control over me that I battle occasionally, like I did last week.
My 80-year-old mother’s stove died. She didn’t tell me until after she drove herself to a big box retail store and purchased another one. She only told me then because the one she bought was not going to fit properly in the space, and she was frazzled over dealing with it. When I asked her why she didn’t tell me to begin with, her answer was a gut check. She said “Well you are so busy, and I didn’t want to be a burden.” Still, as I prepared to leave to drive to her house, I glanced at my to-do list and felt the angst of all my “stuff” that wasn’t going to get done that day.
“While there can still be value in doing the mundane chores in a godly way, I can’t let the actual ‘getting them done’ become an idol.”
When did I become so important that my own elderly widowed mother can’t call me with a problem? When did everything on my list become such a top priority that it needs to be done as soon as possible?
The Bible makes it very clear that life is short. James 4:14 reminds me that I am a mist that appears for a little time then vanishes. Psalm 144:4 says “Man is like a breath; his days are like a passing shadow” (ESV).” For me, the most helpful verse about using my time is Ephesians 5:15-16a: “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…”
At 53 years old I know for certain that life is fleeting. My dad has been gone 12 years, and mom won’t be around much longer for me to be an Ezer to her. Do I really care that much that the laundry isn’t folded and put away or that those shoes won’t be returned today? While there can still be value in doing the mundane chores in a godly way, I can’t let the actual “getting them done” become an idol.
Practically, at this stage of my life, I need to evaluate all that I am doing and look for “time bandits,” things that rob me of one of the most precious resources I have. There are questions I should be asking every day with regard to my schedule: Am I making the best use of my time on what the Lord has planned, or am I squandering it selfishly on my wants? Where do I need to prioritize the urgency of some tasks over others? Is there something with eternal value that I should be focusing on instead of my to-do list?
“Practically, at this stage of my life, I need to evaluate all that I am doing and look for ‘time bandits,’ things that rob me of one of the most precious resources I have.”
Heavenly Father, help me in this new year to do a better job managing my time with a more godly perspective. I don’t want to feel like a slave to my to-do list, but instead I want to see my daily routine as on mission for you. Praise you for your faithfulness and patience with me Lord! In Jesus name.
What about you? What time bandits in your life can you identify?
Beverly Kinard has been married to her college sweetheart for 30 years and is making the most of her empty nest. When she is not in the kitchen trying a new recipe, you can find her traveling, watching college football, or shopping for shoes. One of her greatest desire is to finish well the race the Lord has laid out before her!