The other day during my morning Bible reading, verse 12 of Psalm 90 caught my attention. The Living Bible draws out what may be some of the implied meaning when it says,
“Teach us to number our days and recognize how few they are; help us to spend them as we should.”
I have found this to be very challenging as a pastor. We have a huge amount of freedom with very little accountability. No one follows us through the day evaluating if this or that activity is the best use of our time. Should we read the Bible for two hours? Should we do a prayer walk through our community, praying for the lost? Should we visit the people in our church who are sick? What about those who are having a birthday? The list of good things we could do is endless.
To make matters worse, our job can be emotionally draining, and we are all subject to discouragement. I have found discouragement and unplanned time to be a dangerous combination that can result in a lot of wasted time.
SO, HOW DO WE DECIDE HOW TO SPEND OUR TIME?
Years ago I got some help on this subject from Stephen Covey’s popular book SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE. In the chapter called First Things First, Stephen tells the story of a professor who placed a glass jar in front of his students. Next to the jar was a pile of rocks. He proceeded to fill the jar with as many of the rocks as he could. “Is the jar full?”, he asked. “Yes” they all agreed.
Then the professor pulled out some small pebbles from under his desk, and proceeded to pour them in. “Now is the jar full?”, he asked again. By now the students were getting wiser, and answered “No”. So the professor, pulled out a jar of sand and filled up the cracks.
“What do we learn from this object lesson about our use of time?”, the professor asked. One student shouted out, “You can always fit more into your schedule!” The professor responded, “No, that’s not the lesson I want you to learn.” “I want you to realize that if you don’t put the big rocks in first, you’ll never be able to fit them in!”
QUESTION: What are the big rocks you want to make sure fit into your schedule?