Time is a gift. I thank God for it regularly. He gives us all the time we need today to accomplish what He assigns to us. The more we appreciate this treasure the better we will use it. Time is our servant, not our lord. We control time; it does not control us.

People who say, “I don’t have enough time,” may be wrong. They should say instead, “I have time to do what God wants me to do.” God would not give us tasks that are impossible to complete. If they are not doable, it is because we have taken on too much or are misusing the time allotted to us.

Time is like money; it makes a great servant and a terrible lord. When time rules over us, it abuses us, just like money. When we use money in appropriate ways, to pay the bills, to bless people in need, to give to our church, we are taking charge of our finances. When we make it our lord by worshiping it or hoarding it, we get imprisoned, manipulated, controlled by it. The same with time.

Interesting–the person who says, “I don’t have enough time” often ends up misusing time, wasting it, not getting the things done he had planned. He fulfills his own words, and he proves that he doesn’t have enough time by squandering some. The person who says, “I thank God for the time He has given me today,”  is at peace, and he discovers that God’s management of the universe is effective, because he too is ruling over his schedule rather than let it rule him. He takes charge of his day, his assignments, his finances. What is not finished is rolled over into a new day.

I think of the people in my former church whose lives were always on overload. They didn’t have good boundaries, so they took on more than they should have. They complained of having too much to do and not enough time to do it, which kept them from doing what they could do more effectively. Lack of peace also meant lack of concentration and efficiency. They might have learned it from their parents, who modeled for them, “This is the way life is. It is stressful–all the time. People expect too much from me, and I never have enough time to do what I want to do.” It is passed on “successfully” from generation to generation, an outlook foreign to the Scriptures but all too common.

Some even think that being overly busy shows spirituality. Wrong!  Picture God today ruling over His universe. Jesus said that He works daily because His Father does as well (John 5:17). He rules with peace and efficiency, not with stress. We are to take our queue from a restful Ruler and live the same way, using time and money to serve us well. We have what we need to get the job done. Jesus said, “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin” (Matthew 6:28). “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).


Martha may have looked efficient as she labored in the kitchen to prepare a meal for Jesus. She tried nailing her sister for sitting down on the job. Jesus said to her, “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better…” (Luke 10:41,42). This scenario teaches us some truths about saving time:

Worry kills time. Anxiety is the clue that we’re playing God and doing something that might not be in our job description. Martha should have backed off and asked a question, “Why am I doing this now?” The “why” question helps us save time: Why am I going to this meeting? Why am I writing this letter? Am I doing something that someone else should be doing? Am I doing something that should NOT be done? Is this my responsibility?  Should I be doing it now? Martha probably had the job right, but her timing was off. Meanwhile, Mary “sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said” (39). We see Martha on a later occasion in the kitchen, and she is peaceful and right on schedule (John 12:2) So is Mary, anointing Jesus.

Distractions eat time.  Luke writes that “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (40). The word “distracted” literally means to be pulled in different directions. Distractions keep us from focusing on what is needful at the moment. Mary locked into the “one thing needful,” while Martha was pulled this way and that. God-given goals keep us from secondary priorities. We must say “no”  to people’s expectations that keep us from our highest priority. Martha was no doubt operating with cultural expectations and firstborn mandates. Mary’s devotion exceeded all other expectations and put her in the right place at the right time. Martha needed focus. Are any demands pulling you in wrong directions or at the wrong time?

Mary did three things, all of which kept her on track with right priorities and saved her time.

She “sat at the Lord’s feet.” People with a strong work ethic may question the value of sitting before serving, but in sitting we find out when and where we need to be serving. I have learned to ask the Holy Spirit simple yes-and-no questions, and it saves me a lot of time: Should I go get the tires? No. Is this a good time to talk with Don? Yes. Wish I had learned this as a young pastor.

She was “listening to what he said.” Those who don’t take time to listen will make wrong decisions, will sometimes overbook their schedule, and will not live on purpose. They will also fall prey to the expectations that others place upon them. Mary and Martha were listening to two different voices–and one was right.

She chose what is better.  Saving time has everything to do with making good decisions. Saying “yes” also means saying “no.” One cancels the other. People who say too many yeses live frustrated lives. Their own goals are overshadowed by the desires or demands of others. Thank God for hardworking Marthas who get the job done.And thank God for Marthas who have learned from Marys that their job goes much better when they have taken their cue from Jesus!



Time is a friend, not a foe. We turn it into a tyrant by abusing it, not investing it. Same with money—good servant, terrible master. We don’t have enough time when we are casual about obeying God. Time becomes burdensome to perfectionists and victims. Don’t do what God has not given you to do. We have time to obey God. It is an illusion to think that you will have more time tomorrow. But you can have more wisdom and make right choices. You don’t have time not to fill the car with gas. Obedience is the greatest time-saving device. Unconfessed sin causes us to lose time, because God disciplines rather than directs (Ps. 32).


All time is not created equal. The Bible speaks of two kinds—chronos and kairos, the time on the clock and the time of opportunity. When Jesus cried because Jerusalem missed her time, He was not looking at His watch. God has His moments, and the Spirit can alert us. So “look carefully then how you walk…making the most of time…be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:15-18). Some time is pregnant. Bartimaeus was healed because he cried out. Jesus never passed that way again. Some wished they would have cried out. When it is harvest time, get the crops in. When it is time to repent, don’t rejoice. Catch the moment—ice cream with the kids. Live the present. “Now is the day of salvation.”


God is eternal. A thousand years is a day. God can tweak time; we can’t. But we can redeem it. We are headed for eternity. Time is a small parenthesis in forever. Living with eternity in view keeps us from being tyrannized by time. We put all our marbles in the age to come. Time makes new things old, like skin, but an eternal focus brings comfort. Time is an internship preparing us for eternity. Angels don’t wear watches. We relate to a God who lives in eternity. So we lay up treasure in heaven by investing money and time, two precious commodities that we only have in this life. We don’t spend money and we don’t spend time. People who know they are valuable also know the value of money and time. I don’t have time to waste, but I have time to invest. Self-discipline is self-caring. Whoops. Coupon expired. Generosity saves money; servanthood saves time. Truly!


Wasting time is sin, squandering a great gift. Go ahead and chill, but remember you are accountable to God. “So teach us to number our days…” Lost time cannot be recovered. Planning saves time. Worry is a time-waster. So is discouragement. Never open the door when discouragement knocks or you will lose time.


Time is going somewhere. It is not circular, as evolutionists propose. The universe is growing old and running out of time. So is Satan, who doesn’t look forward to eternity (Rev. 12:12). Time folds into eternity when the King returns. The past is past. Understand it, just don’t live there. Instant replay is history, which must give way to destiny. Shift to D, not R. Live in the present but with eternity in view. David said, “My times are in your hand” (Psalm 31:15).