Before the Children Are Gone

Time is our most precious earthly asset because all other earthly assets are governed by it. We can’t really save time. We can only spend it. So we try to manage it.

But that’s very hard. Never in history have human beings had so many options for spending time. And there’s no way to manage time well enough to spend it on all the things we want to do, nor all the things we think we should do.

So we find time a quandary. It’s a quandary that my wife and I wrestle with every day. So I recently wrote her a poetical prose note to help us see God’s design in our quandary of time.

Where do they go,
All those hours, all those days?
Each comes with ceaseless demands
To finish some task, prepare for some future.
We look at the clock and find we’re behind.
Need to get moving, we have to get things done.
“Kids, we need to get moving!
What are you doing?
Did you get caught in the moment again?
Can’t you hear tomorrow calling?”
Yet when tomorrow comes,
We hear another tomorrow calling.
We hardly enjoy the today for the tomorrows.
“Consider the ravens,” Jesus said.
Yes, the ravens.
We envy them sometimes.
“They neither sow nor reap,
They have neither storehouse nor barn,”
They have neither clock nor calendar,
They have neither education nor retirement to prepare for,
They have neither carpets nor lawns to replace.
Yet their Heavenly Father provides for them.
Do they ever wonder if they’re doing the right thing?
Spending their time on what matters most?
What does matter most?
Jesus says only one thing (Luke 10:42).
Yes, Jesus. How did he live?
He neither sowed nor reaped,
He had neither storehouse nor barn,
He had neither clock nor calendar,
He had neither education nor retirement to prepare for,
He had neither carpets nor lawns,
For he had nowhere to lay his head.
And yet his Heavenly Father provided for him.
There’s something there for us,
Who have somewhere to lay our heads,
And spend so much time caring for it.
Lord, help us understand what it is!
I wonder.
Is time something we over-manage and under-spend?
Are we anxious and troubled about too many things
When time is to be spent on love and on little else?
I wonder.
Are we given so much to do
To see how we’ll spend time?
To see what we really love?
I wonder.
Ravens keep their focus simple to do what is necessary: live.
Jesus kept his focus simple to do what was necessary: love.
Can we keep our focus simple
So we spend more of our fleeting time on love?
And can we figure out how before the children are gone?

I want to spend time more wisely before it’s too late. Don’t you?

Managing time is hard, and there are no easy answers. We should read Kevin DeYoung, Matt Perman, and David Allen. We all need help and they are helpful.

But it’s also helpful to remember that managing time is meant to be hard. God designed time as a test of our treasure. In the crunch and crush of demands, how we spend it reveals what we love and trust. And to love and trust what matters most, we must neglect (die to) many of the things we want to do, and many of the things we think we should do.

What will you neglect today for the sake of loving what matters most?