Lucky, Ping Pong, & Redeeming the Time

Walk as children of light 9(for the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true), 10and try to discern what is pleasing to the Lord… Therefore it says,

“Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. 17Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:9-10, 14-21

“Its just Lucky!”

In University I spent lots of free time at our local BSM building at the University of Georgia. The ping pong and pool tables were privy to scenes that could be used to chart the rise and fall of empires! My friend Lucky would meet me at least once a week. And with each aggressive slap of that ping pong ball he would cry out, “Its just Lucky!”

When we were done, or rather when he was done with me, he would announce, “I’m off to redeem the time.” And away he went.

Lucky sought to live full of the Spirit of God. He was saved by Jesus and experienced healing in a baptist hospital in Nigeria. Afterwards he began to preach the Gospel. By his account he preached by the Spirit of God what he didn’t even “know yet,” as he was just reading the Bible. He loved Jesus and he was conscious of time as a gift from God. Redeeming the time for him, meant to be a part of the Kingdom life and to use his time wisely.

 Redeeming the Time

The Apostle Paul writes that we are to pay attention to our lifestyle, to live wisely “making the best use of time. “

7 Best Use of Time Suggestions:

1. Create habits that save you time and energy.

2. Avoid the tyranny of the urgent by identifying what’s important but not yet urgent. Block out the time to attend to these daily.

3. Divide a page into the key demands or your areas of responsibility and make lists at the beginning of each week; check regularly throughout the day.

4. Attend to the habitual actions that squander your time. As you identify these time wasters eliminate or manage them with different “rules.” For example you could say, “I won’t surf Facebook, Pinterest, etc. until after 9 PM.”

5. Create little “finish lines.” You could divide your day into 90 minute chunks and then take a “recovery break” in order to refuel, recharge, and create the energy for focusing again.

6. Identify “when” (what part of the day) you are best able to focus and put your most demanding work into that time slot.

7. Watch for the “interruptions” in your plan & agenda that actually may be God’s opportunity for you to join Him in the work of His Kingdom.

 

Redeem the time!

 

The Sluggard’s Dilemma

12Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes?

There is more hope for a fool than for him.

13 The sluggard says, “There is a lion in the road!

There is a lion in the streets!”

14As a door turns on its hinges,

so does a sluggard on his bed.

15 The sluggard buries his hand in the dish;

it wears him out to bring it back to his mouth.

16The sluggard is wiser in his own eyes

than seven men who can answer sensibly.

Proverbs 26:12-16

 

Habituated incapacitation.

Learned helplessness.

Underdeveloped executive function.

For all of us,

the condition takes hold when courage is crowded out by anxiety.

Lions in the street.

The future does not seem friendly…

AND

we believe we lack the wherewithal to out-do, out-smart, out-battle a lion.

AND

nobody can teach us how outsmart a pride of lions.

I am the sluggard 

when… “I need to go to work but there might be a lion.”

…when “I need to learn something but there might be a lion.”

A disconnect from the urgency of the present or the future.

Sometimes seen as procrastination. But not exactly because

a procrastinator generally is planning to do the battle

when the urgency of what matters demands it.

The sluggard doesn’t feel the urgency anymore.

Some will explore what’s going on in the brain of a sluggard.

But, what’s happening in their soul?

Where is their hope?

Where is their aspiration?

Where is their circle of hope?

The problem grows deeper as teachability decreases.

Time moves slowly for the sluggard and then its gone.

The lions have won.

What are you doing to make peace with your time devouring lions?

What are you doing to raise the urgency of what matters most?

Watch Richard Turere talk about “My invention that made peace with lions.”

 

Me, Success & The Myth of Time Management

Last I checked only God can manage time. The rest of us are managing ourselves. Thus the Psalmist prays,

“Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom.” Psalm 90:12  (NLT)

Literally Moses prays, “teach us to number our days.” Moses reflects on the shortness of our lives in contrast to the immensity of God’s everlasting existence and extraordinary power. Only God could possibly turn back time. Therefore, we must manage ourselves and that requires wisdom. We always give ourselves to something and that requires time. Wisdom is the capacity to choose well in light of greater purposes and a vision of common good.

 

So manage yourself. Reflection on life and the Gospel will lead us into wisdom. Jesus spoke of “dissipation” as a reason some people do not continue in their walk with Him. Thankfully, the Gospel of Jesus brings us into greater purpose for our lives and generates true worship. Jesus rescues from both laziness and workaholism.

 

Why is wisdom required?

Life in a broken world can become perpetually hard.

Little time suckers come so easily and become habits draining us.

We can despair because the energy required to discipline ourselves for the good work God gives us seems too much!

Sometimes we need to gloriously “waste time” by intentionally “not doing” and just “be” with Jesus and with people, or by ourselves.

Sometimes a hard reality in our life today causes us to wonder, “How can I do this for the rest of my life? For Another four years? Another month? Or even another day?”

We need patterns of life that move us from rest to work, from the wait of abiding in Christ to the fruitfulness of abiding in Christ.

 

And so we need to pray, “Oh LORD, establish the work of our hands!” “Yes, Make our efforts successful!”

 

13O Lord, come back to us!

How long will you delay?

Take pity on your servants!

14Satisfy us each morning with your unfailing love,

so we may sing for joy to the end of our lives.

15Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery!

Replace the evil years with good.

16Let us, your servants, see you work again;

let our children see your glory.

17And may the Lord our God show us his approval

and make our efforts successful.

Yes, make our efforts successful!
Psalm 90:13-17