Guest Contributor, Kim Brenneman
Before exposing the time thieves let’s look at what the scriptures say about time and how we are to use it.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of time, because the days are evil. Therefore, do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. ~ Ephesians 5:15&16
We understand God’s will for our time when we study the scriptures. It’s certainly not found in this common thought, “I just listened to my heart.” This phrase is often used to explain a questionable decision. What guides every little decision you make from the moment you rise up until the moment you fall asleep?
Jeremiah 17:9 says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it? I the Lord search the heart and test the mind,to give every man according to his ways,according to the fruit of his deeds.
It is natural but wrong to trust our hearts to lead us in our use of time. And so it takes deliberate thought and effort on our part to seek God’s priorities.
The verses preceding Ephesians 5:15-16 teach us many things about living the Christian life. A short list includes:
- Be imitators of God
- Walk in love
- Be moral
- Be pure
- Let there be thanksgiving
- Do not associate with the sons of disobedience
- Walk as children of light
- Discern what is pleasing to the Lord
- Take no part in and expose unfruitful works of darkness
Another short list from the verses following 15-16:
- Do not get drunk but be controlled by the Spirit
- Address one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs
- Give thanks always and for everything
- Submit to one another
- Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
- Let the wife see that she respects her husband
- Honor your father and mother
Proverbs 31 and Titus 2 further guide women. The Proverbs 31 lady embodies everything listed above in a practical way. She is strong and dignified, trustworthy and excellent; she’s not idle and laughs at the days to come. In Titus 2 we are specifically instructed:
- To be reverent in behavior
- To be not slanderers or slaves to too much wine
- To teach what is good and so train the young women to love their husbands and children
- To be self-controlled
- To be pure
- To work at home
- To be kind
- To be submissive to our husbands
When we don’t keep our priorities in line with scripture we rob God of His best use of time in our lives. Are we running from God’s will? The reason we run from God’s will is the heart (Jeremiah 17:9). We need to put off the old woman and put on the new by the renewing our minds (Ephesians 4:22). We need God to perfect our hearts everyday through prayerful repentance.
In no particular order here is a list of seven thieves that rob us of time.
- Television and Books – When I stopped watching daytime television as a young mom, I taped Philippians 4:8 to the front of the idiot box which reads, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”
That verse also led me to avoid certain genres of books. Both television and books can be means of escapism. We don’t need to be caught up in someone else’s imaginary world. God gave us a life to live! What we are to be is controlled by the Holy Spirit. We can relax and have down time without offending Him.
- Computer – We need fellowship with other believers but often we exchange relationships with real people in our physical community for relationships with people in a narrow little band of online people that believe every little thing exactly like we do. The Proverbs 31 lady was in her community, her husband was honored at the city gates because of her renown, she extended her hand to the poor, and more.Online communities can be a venue of encouragement and relation to others, but spend more time getting to know your neighbors. Be salt and light!Computer rabbit trails also steal time from our first priorities. Be careful, be wise, make a plan for the time you spend online and use a timer.
- Poor Planning – Do you wonder what you’re supposed to be doing when you look around at a big mess? Do you drive like crazy and never accomplish anything of real purpose? Do you stare into the cupboard and wonder what you’re supposed to make for supper? You’re wasting time. Plan your work and work your plan. Work on being efficient and you will accomplish so much more.
- Health and Sleep – When we don’t take care of our health we get slow and sleepy. When we take care to eat and drink right, take supplements, get exercise and sunshine, we have energy to be our best.Women are often sleepy and sluggish when they need to take better care of their health. Rise up and go for a walk! Maybe you need to walk on over to the doctor to have a chat about it, or to the health food store for B vitamins, or to the pantry to throw out all the junk. Get healthy!
- Over Committed – Are you over committed? Start prioritizing and making your allotted hours in the week fit God’s top priorities. Who or what is getting the best of your time? When we try to do everything we do nothing well. Focus on your first priorities and then carefully, thoughtfully, and prayerfully refine them before adding to them.
- Telephone, Email, IM and Gadding About – We women like to talk and oftentimes this gets us into trouble. The Bible warns against the misuse of our tongue in 1 Timothy 5:13, “And withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to house; and not only idle, but tattlers also and busybodies, speaking things which they ought not.”It’s an old, old problem. Don’t be an idler, gossip, or busybody going about from house to house via the telephone, email, IM, or visiting. Save your talk time and be meaningful with it. There is no need to say the same thing five different ways in your conversation. In doing these things you are stealing your own time, God’s time, and the correspondent’s time. Give thought to your words.
- Disobedient Children – Disobedient children take your time through cleaning their messes, repairing their destruction, threatening and repeating, arguing with them, and mental anguish. Unruly children are not enjoyable. They will rob you not only of time but also relationships. Your friends may avoid your family because of your children. Babysitters don’t want to have to deal with them.Do something about it. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Pray for wisdom. Enforce consequences and make the consequences mean something. Spend time with them teaching them respectful behavior. It takes time and deliberate thought and action on your part to teach them obedience and manners.
Kim is the joyful wife of Matt and the blessed mother of nine children.
When not busy homeschooling and farmschooling, she enjoys writing, gardening, cooking, reading, sewing, and crafting.
Kim lives on a farm in Iowa where her family grows beef cattle, corn and beans, and operates a micro-dairy selling cheese at farmer’s markets. She loves to write and speak about her passion for home and family. She is the author of Large Family Logistics: The Art and Science of Managing the Large Family. She blogs about the same subject at:
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