September 26, 2019 • Life for Leaders
Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.
Three weeks ago our Life for Leaders devotion was called “Time Management: A New Perspective.” I invited you to join me in a close reading of Ephesians 5:15-16, which I suggested gives us God’s approach to time management. Before we leave this passage, I’d like to reflect for a moment on what we have learned together.
Time management in Ephesians begins, not with to-do lists or the latest hi-tech apps, but rather with the charge to examine carefully how we are living. We need to step back and scrutinize our lives, paying attention to how we are using the time God has given to us. I suggested that in order to do this well, we need to stop doing those things that fill our lives so that we might have the time to reflect accurately and prayerfully. For many of us, such a stopping means that we unplug from our tech for a while.
A time of daily reflection, inspired by the traditional Christian examen, can help us pay close attention to how we’re living. So can getting away on a retreat. Sometimes art can help us think in new ways about our lives. The same is true of conversations with those who know us well. Of course Scripture can help us to see things in ourselves that we might otherwise miss. Examining carefully how we’re living is a prerequisite to living “not as unwise but as wise” (5:15).
Ephesians 5:16 urges us to redeem the time. When we choose to use well the time given to us, we are, in a sense, buying it out of its bondage to evil. As Gandalf said to Frodo in The Lord of the Rings, “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” Indeed, God has given us the gift of time so that we might steward it well for God’s kingdom purposes. By examining carefully how we are living, and by asking the Spirit to clarify our vision, we are able to decide wisely what to do with the time that is given us. Thus, we can steward – that is to say, manage – well the gift of time.
For me personally, this devotional study of Ephesians 5:15-16 has challenged me to think again about my own priorities in life. I admit to being someone who easily takes on more than I should. My intentions are honorable. But I am not always wise when I say “yes” to opportunities offered to me. I have heard once again the exhortation of Ephesians 5:15-16. I am examining my own life carefully so that I might redeem the time God has given me, living wisely and well for his kingdom purposes. I hope you have joined me in this exercise of God-guided time management.
Something to Think About:
What truth from Ephesians 5:15-16 has resonated with your spirit?
What helps you to steward well the time God has given to you?
What practices might you build into your life so that you will continue to examine carefully how you are living?
Something to Do:
Identify one practice that will help you examine your life carefully and make plans to do it. Practices are best lived in community, so find at least one other person who can share this practice with you.
Gracious God, thank you for the time you have given me. Thank you for reminding me to live wisely so that I might redeem the time. Help me to examine my life honestly and regularly, open to what your Spirit would show me. May all that I do and say be honoring to you and your kingdom purposes. Amen.
Explore more at The High Calling archive, hosted by the Theology of Work Project:
Kairos Time in a Chronos World
Dr. Mark D. Roberts is a Senior Strategist for Fuller’s Max De Pree Center for Leadership, where he focuses on the spiritual development and thriving of leaders. He is the principal writer of the daily devotional, Life for Leaders, and the founder of the De Pree Center’s Flourishing in the Third Third of Life Initiative. Previously, Mark was the Executive Director of the De Pree Center, the lead pastor of a church in Southern California, and the Senior Director of Laity Lodge in Texas. He has written eight books, dozens of articles, and over 2,500 devotions that help people discover the difference God makes in their daily life and leadership. With a Ph.D. in New Testament from Harvard, Mark teaches at Fuller Seminary, most recently in his D.Min. cohort on “Faith, Work, Economics, and Vocation.” Mark is married to Linda, a marriage and family counselor, spiritual director, and executive coach. Their two grown children are educators on the high school and college level.