"The difference in the men and the boys" - 2012/8/23 - published
Years ago, I remember sitting at a conference and listening to the celebrated professor from Dallas Theological Seminary speak about true discipleship. He has spent a lifetime of ministry investing in younger men to see them become faithful men of God. He shared so many nuggets of wisdom, I could not write them down fast enough. But there was one nugget of wisdom that was so powerful, I did not need to write it down. His words immediately resonated with me. He said, "the difference between the men and the boys is how they manage their time."
This is so simple that we may miss the profound challenge this delivers to our souls. A man who for over half a century has trained young men to live for God and walk as faithful disciples of Jesus, boils down a man's priority to the way he handles his time. This is truth we men need to hear. This truth so challenged me I returned from the conference on a mission to make the most of my time.
Today I want to pass on this same challenge to you. As men (of course women as well), we must be very concerned with what we do with the time God gives us. Time is a stewardship. Time, like everything, belongs to God but is given to us to spend as a stewardship to Him. By God's grace I have seen the benefit of being very intentional with my time. Here are some things I've learned...
1. Use a calendar. Paper or digital does NOT matter, just get one and use it. The idea is to have a working system to help you make the most of your time, your calendar serves as a tool to ensure you remember those commitments months and weeks from now as well as what happens 15 minutes from now. A good rule of thumb is to think through this year, this month, this week and this day.
2. Look at your calendar. Until you develop the habit of looking at your calendar, it does you no good. When I log where my time should go, it eliminates the question of what to do next. This creates efficiency and purpose. This takes more discipline than it seems. Build the habit of checking your calendar regularly throughout the day.
3. Big rocks first. Include all the major priorities first. If you are married or have children, you will likely need help with this. Talk about your priorities and make sure your time represents the priorities of your family, not just your job. This is a problem lots of men have because of the way we compartmentalize life. We often see home and work as clearly divided compartments that we don't sync them up. Remember you may have many parts to your life, but you life one life. Make sure your calendar reflects one life.
4. Get up early. There is tons of research out there about the benefits of getting up early. Some of you will argue that you are not a morning person. The truth is, you can cultivate a pattern of being an early riser. Practically, I have found that my evenings are harder to predict than my mornings. The one thing we all gotta do is decide what time we will get up. I get up early to take advantage of my mind when it is most fresh. My goal is to schedule as many of the big rocks I can before noon. So, in general, my day starts with a Priority Time with God, workout, study time for sermon prep. One day includes taking my kids to school. I even have two days when I sleep in...until 6am! If I haven't convinced you, check out
Proverbs 20:13 "Do not love sleep or you will grow poor; stay awake and you will have food to spare."
5. Don't forget down time. We all need time to be obligation free. When you lack down time you eventually feel stressed because you simply cannot think through all you need to think about. Your brain is literally on overload. When you take down time, you can sort out your commitments and refresh your priorities. You can prepare to bring your best to rest of your life.
Hope this makes sense!
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