If you want to know the truth, ask an 11-year-old.
I think of myself as an excellent time manager. I plan things in advance, artfully maneuver our family’s schedule, work full time, study for my Master’s classes, and volunteer for our church and community. You might even say I pride myself on my efficiency. For some reason, I decided to ask my daughter her opinion on how I manage time. The truth hurts!
“Well, Mom, you’re on your phone a long time in the mornings, and you work a lot.” These are the things she notices?! It seems I have a long way to go in order to manage my time and show my family they are my priority. I decided to turn to the best example I know of to learn how to get things straight…Jesus. I wondered how a busy man who only had about three years to make impact in his public ministry managed his time.
Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” (Matthew 4:19).
First, I noticed while Jesus was the Executive Director of his non-profit ministry, he really knew how to delegate. Jesus gave instructions, and the disciples followed. Jesus taught them how to fish for people, and they did. He chose his team carefully (based on their potential), trained and empowered them, then let them fly. I have a hard time allowing my husband to do the laundry because he doesn’t do it right. Jesus KNEW his disciples were going to mess up big time, but he let them learn and grow from their mistakes. As a busy professional, are you leveraging your team to their potential or trying to do everything yourself?
Even though he was busy saving the world, Jesus made time for friends. Jesus took time to grieve with his buddies Mary and Martha, and then ended up bringing their brother Lazarus out of the tomb.
Then Jesus wept. The people who were standing nearby said, “See how much he loved him!” (John 11:35-36).
There have been times in my life when I thought I was too busy to grieve a loss, whether it was over a death or something smaller. Jesus shows us it’s important because he did it. On the other hand, when it was time to celebrate with friends, Jesus was right there, joining the party. He was a popular dinner guest, and enjoyed hospitality. He even let other people take care of him! Jesus made sure to be part of the community by acknowledging holidays. Even when he knew he was about to be betrayed and sent to the cross, Jesus shared a holiday meal with friends that evening.
On the first day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Where do you want us to prepare the Passover meal for you? (Matthew 26:17).
Do you celebrate victories and grieve losses?
Even though Jesus is fully God, he was also a man who recognized the human body’s needs.
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn’t even have time to eat, (Mark 6:31).
I thought I had lost a lot of sleep when my kids were infants. What I was unprepared for, though, was the exhaustion of late games, performances, and social plans of older kids. I was so excited when my oldest started driving so I didn’t have to pick him up, but yet again, that did not result in more sleep because we worry about them until they are safely home. What I’ve found out, and what Jesus taught his disciples, is that we have to take a time-out every once in a while to catch up.
That leads me to my next discovery about Jesus’ time management. Jesus Christ, Son of God, knew when to go to the spa!
But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer, (Luke 5:16).
OK, so he didn’t actually go to a spa, but I’m sure he would have! (We know he loved a good foot soak.) Jesus chose a natural setting to re-charge and connect with his father. Remember, if Jesus did it, then it’s important. I believe in order to mature in our faith and just to handle life in general, regular retreats are necessary. When is the last time you gave up a day or two for a spiritual retreat?
Furthermore, I am convinced that Jesus didn’t over-fill his schedule because he wanted to leave some margin for spontaneity.
But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children,” (Matthew 19:14)
The disciples were all like, “We don’t have time for this!” And Jesus was like, “But I LOVE kids!”
In fact, the most important thing Jesus showed us during his ministry is how to love God and love other people. That means our relationship with God comes first, but we are supposed to put people next. Some days, that means not finishing the To Do list when someone annoyingly interrupts us. How annoying might it have been when some guys lowered their friend through the roof of a house to get Jesus’ attention?
They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus, (Mark 2:4).
What did Jesus do? Did he go right on with his teaching as planned? No! He pushed the pause button, showed compassion, and healed the man.
The final lesson I learned about how Jesus was such a great time manager during his ministry on earth is he prayed first.
Before daybreak the next morning, Jesus got up and went out to an isolated place to pray, (Mark 1:35).
Jesus didn’t wait until things had gone haywire to call for help. He prayed about his day’s work before it started. What if we all prayed, “Jesus, take my list. Take my schedule and have your way with it. Guide me to what’s best. Give me eyes to see people’s needs around me. Help me focus on you and trust you to guide me through everything else.” I wonder how well we would manage time if we prayed like that. We might just be on Jesus Standard Time!