If you are like me you are strapped for time. It seems to almost fly away…
Time is a very precious commodity. To me it’s even more precious than money. We only get 24 hours a day. That’s it. Whether you are rich or poor that all you get. 24 hours. Bill Gates gets not a nanosecond more time each day than the poorest villager in Africa.
He can’t buy more time nor can he make more time. We all have to decide how we are going to use our time the most effectively.
One of the areas I like to spend some of my time is gardening. The garden is almost finished for the year. We are still getting some cantaloupes and tomatoes, but that’s about it. The corn and beans have long finished producing. I’ve been gardening for years and it is very therapeutic for me…
…not to mention that it saves a lot of money on the grocery bill. A few years ago, my daughter Clara and I were planting the garden. It’s a process that usually takes one day each spring. We lined off the garden by making rows in the soil and then we planted our crops. Usually, we plant mostly green beans, cucumbers, cantaloupes, tomatoes and corn. Clara worked so hard helping me. When we were finished that evening, she was so excited! My five-year-old daughter then exclaimed, “Daddy, I can’t wait till tomorrow morning to go pick all the beans and corn!” Clara didn’t understand. She thought the process of the seed turning to plant, turning to blooms, turning to fruit happened overnight. I wish it did, but as we all know, it doesn’t.
Gardening takes time and so does making disciples. It took Jesus three years to teach, train and equip his followers. Yet, they still struggled mightily. Peter comes to mind immediately. After three years of intense time with him, Peter denied even knowing Jesus three times. He even called down curses upon himself. Jesus never gave up on Peter. Peter was slow to learn, just like so many of us. If anyone could attest to the fact that making disciples is a long and hard process, it would be Jesus.
Raising a family is much the same way…very time consuming and truthfully can be much like riding a roller coaster. There will be many ups and downs. We get to choose our attitude and how we will respond to those ups and downs. Still, it is easy to get impatient and tired of the tedious work. Raising children is like
gardening. The process begins when the children are no more than a seed (infant) and takes much time to plant, weed, water, fertilize and pray through the droughts and storms of life.
It has been said that raising children is much like driving a car on a mountain road. If we take our hands off the steering wheel for long, there will must assuredly be a wreck!
Understanding that making disciples and raising children takes time, we need to take an inventory of how we spend our time and see what kind of time we have available to us in order to do so. Just as we know there are only 24 hours in a day, we also know there are just 168 hours in a week.
Through the years I’ve conducted an unscientific poll that I believe is fairly accurate in regards to how we spend our time. I’ve discovered the average person sleeps somewhere around 8 hours per night (again, these are averages). Therefore, the average person sleeps around 56 hours per week. We work around 60 hours per week. You may say, “I don’t work that much!” Actually, that 60-hour number includes the following: getting ready for work, (shower/make-up, etc), driving to work, actually working, and driving home from work. So, on average we spend around 116 of our 168 hours, almost 70% of our time, per week just sleeping and doing things related to work. That leaves 58 hours. Over the years I have found most of us spend about 4 hours per day, or about 28 hours per week, doing things like: preparing and eating meals, cleaning up from meals, paying bills, doing laundry, cleaning the house, doing yard work and the like. These are things that we must do in order to live. These are the things we have little choice in whether we do them or not. What does that leave us? It leaves about 24 hours per week or just a little over 3 hours per day of what could be considered disposable time.
Disposable time is just that. It is time that is disposable to us. Let’s assume we have a scenario where there are children still in the home and both parents work. So, we have three hours per day that we can use any way we wish. Now when do we normally get this time? Think it through. In a normal work week, the average person is up in the morning getting ready for work or school or the activities of that day. We head off to school and work and then get home or off work around 5 or 6 pm. Many families are dual-income families, where the mother and father both work. Most families have children in school. In most instances families are going to find their
disposable time after dinner is finished around 6:30 pm. If that is the case, (I know I’m making quite a few assumptions), we have approximately three hours at our disposal. This time will most likely be available between 6:30 pm and 9:30 pm, give or take a little. Most families with smaller children have them in the
bed by 9:30 pm at the latest. (Again, this is a generalization.) If the children are older, they are most likely in their rooms by then, most likely on the computer, doing homework or watching TV.
I’ve not even mentioned the weekend at this point. Saturdays mean different things to different people. Some work, while others play, do yard work, play golf, shop, etc. Needless to say, in most homes, little spiritual training takes place on Saturdays. We know there are always things to get done. Some obsess so much with keeping the house or car clean that they don’t spend time with their family. Some “play” all weekend.
Weekends are “fun time” for the family. There is a balance to be found here. Certainly, I’m assuming we are all in church on Sunday. But I’m principally focusing on the work week.
The elaborate scenario I’ve presented should poignantly emphasize that what you and I do at night is
crucial in the disciple-making venture that is ours. Remember that approximately 24 hours per week is disposable. What does this mean? It means we don’t have much time to get the job done of raising
a Christ-centered family. If we are going to deliver to our children a faith in Christ that is rock solid, we must guard our time like a precious treasure and use it wisely. But do we?
As school gets ready to crank back up, so will the hectic pace of life. Let’s not allow the time to slip away to teach and train and raise strong, rock-solid, Christian children.
They’re going to need much of our time in order to make it in this crazy world. So, let’s seize the day, while there’s still time!
Speaking of time…check out Katy’s blog post for today. It’s short and sweet and worthy of your time…