Time on Task
Years ago I was at a technology conference where the keynote speaker made a prediction (this was the time of the very first Blackberry phone). He said that as humans become more efficient with the time we had, we would not have more free time. In fact, he said that the more efficient we became, the busier we would be. His point was that the more we could learn to pack into one hour, the more hours we would pack into one day, and so on. It is nearly two decades later, and I realize his prediction was spot on.
I guess there is really nothing wrong with being efficient. After all, time is our only truly limited commodity, so why not do as much with it as possible, right? Here is the problem with this line of thinking. As we compartmentalize our lives, we tend to also compartmentalize our faith and God ends up with the leftovers rather than the first fruits.
Here is a simple exercise to consider. Take a minute to think about how you spent your time in the last week. I’m guessing work took a fairly large chunk of time. Then, your family probably took the next piece. Most of us would have a decent chunk dedicated to recreation of sorts--our me time. Then, someplace down the line we’d start to find things like church events, prayer, and scripture study. Unfortunately, we know that we will expend the largest amount of our resources into the areas of our lives that are the most important to us.
Consider this data point. A recent study I read claimed that the average 8 year old consumes screen media for over 7.5 hours per day; more than 40 hours per week. Yet church research tells us that the average family spends less than 40 hours in church-related activities over the course of an entire year. On the surface this sounds unbelievable, but it we take a step back and look honestly at our culture, the data seems accurate and paints a challenging picture.
In Matthew, Chapter 6, Jesus is talking about prayer, treasures, and priorities. Verse 33 tells us to strive “…first for the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” I think Jesus is reminding us that when we make God our top priority, even above family, work, and friends, everything else will fall into place. Be careful here, because I am not suggesting you quit your job to study the Bible 40 hours more each week. I am suggesting that if we prioritize God first among all of our lives, we will see things very differently. The truth is that when we make God our priority, we make God’s priority our priority, seeing the world more like He does.