It's a moment of revelation for each of them. Their brows wrinkle and pouts appear on their faces. It's not a happy realization for them.
Some of us learn that good doesn’t equal a green light. Others of us don’t. Or some of us forget over time, as opportunities, expectations and privileges multiply in our lives. I think I heard it at least six or seven times this week, from six or seven different people; “It’s been so busy!”
Okay, so I was one of those people who said it, I admit it. But we are clearly living in a culture of busyness and many of us can’t get off of the proverbial hamster wheel. Does God want us to live lives that are so busy that we sometimes have to put “Time to Think” on our To Do list? There will be days like that. But this is not the “life in abundance” that is promised in the book of John:
“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” –John 10:10
If we are living chained to our calendars, are our lives abundant?
What does Scripture say about this? God says that less may be more. Just because it's good, and is on the list of things that Christians are told to do, and we are employing His gifts, the Lord may not want us to do it. We have limitations of time, energy, resources and talents. We must be intentional about how we use all of these. To do anything “in Jesus’ name” may be good. In Matthew, however, we find out that some of us may be disappointed that our best intentions and the use of His gifts were not what not impressed Jesus;
“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” –Matthew 7:22-23
We can make informed decisions on our own, but we never know the bigger picture like God does. We can cut back on our wasted times when we are in relationship with the Lord and pray about what He wants us to do. He knows what is eternally important.
Keep in mind that our enemy is lurking, and put simply, he wants us to waste our time. He wants us to do things that don’t matter, to spend hours each day focused on things that Scripture calls “dead,” producing no life;
“There is a way that appears to be right, but in the end it leads to death.”
–Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25
Keep in mind that our enemy is lurking, and put simply,
he wants us to waste our time.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. –James 1:5
A litmus test is a chemical test that indicates the acidity or alkalinity of a substance. The term is used popularly as a “decisively indicative test.” God has given us a litmus test for decision making. As we make decisions, we must repeatedly and habitually ask, “Is this important to God?” This question must become a way of life for us.
In Mark 12:30, Jesus says that most important thing is to “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.” It follows that we could add “and with all of your decisions.” Colossians 3:17 says, “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” As we make commitments, they should be typed into, or written onto, our calendars in The Lord Jesus’ Name. As we record our plans, it's awesome to be able to pray God’s blessing on the event because we are dedicating our hours and days to Him. How it must please Him when His people say “I’m doing it, Lord, because it’s important to You and You want me to do it!”
Sometimes God will want us just to kick back and play and rest. God certainly encourages rest and relaxation. He rested, Himself, and He added a commandment that contains rest to the Ten Commandments. (Keeping Holy the Sabbath, #4, Exodus 20:8) The Sabbath commandment is meant to ensure time with the Lord. Our rest should be with and in Him. There is certainly a time for fun. Ecclesiastes 3:4 says, “(there is)…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,” (Ecclesiastes 3:4) God has it all worked out. We need to tune into His best plans for us.
Sometimes little things that seem incidental may, indeed, be used of God as part of bigger, highly significant plans.
Sometimes God gives us more than we seem to be able to handle, then gives us the grace to follow through. Other times, we make plans and He takes things away from us. We are not in control. But He does give us freedom to make many decisions, and we must guard our schedules because we are guarding the moments that combine and make up our lives. As we manage what goes on and off of our plates, remember that God intends abundance and good for us; “Every good and perfect gift is from above.” (James 1:17). It would be a shame to not leave room for dessert.