As for me and my house we will SERVE THE LORD. Joshua 24:15
My husband and I just returned from visiting our son for Parent’s Weekend at Cal Poly. (He’s doing GREAT, by the way). As we heard all about his new adventures in adulting, we asked about different things that seemed important to us – things we thought he should probably be doing or pursuing. His response fascinated me, “Mom, I just haven’t had time.” What? How is that possible? According to my assessment of his schedule and my knowledge of his work habits, he should have plenty of time for these other things. But that’s when it hit me. He has placed value on fun, new activities, nurturing new friendships and pursuing exciting opportunities and that is where he is using his time. I realized in that moment that part of his journey into adulthood will be learning the important skill of honoring God with his time. Don’t get me wrong ~ He is living a moral, upright, life of integrity (just like we hoped and prayed he would)… but he’s doing it his way. I am grateful that He knows the Lord and that HE is a priority in my son’s life and I am excited to see how he grows in and embraces the challenge to serve the Lord in his own life.
So, what does it really mean to serve the Lord? How do we live out this bold declaration? While there are many ways to answer that question, I see three primary ways: how we use our time (priorities), our resources (stewardship) and in how we conduct our relationships (both inside and outside our families). This month, I’ll focus on serving the Lord with our time.
How do we serve the Lord with our time? This is a question of priorities we set for ourselves and our families. My pastor often says that we all have the same number of hours each day; it is our choice what we do with them: waste them, spend them or invest them. In the midst of our busy lives, this awareness is a game-changer. There will always be tasks that must be completed: housework, carpools, errands, meals to prepare, homework to supervise. If asked to categorize our various activities into three columns – waste, spend and invest – it’s likely many of the things we do would feel like time wasters (purposeless things we choose to do) or time spenders (things we have to do that are important but hardly spiritual). The column titled invest would likely be nearly empty. Is it possible to redeem the time spent doing seemingly mundane and repetitive things so that we can move those activities into the invest column? Yes. Two words: attitude and intentionality.
Why we do what we do matters. Adjusting the attitude of our hearts towards the activities we do automatically shifts them into the invest column. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” Recognize that any task you do is likely because of a blessing you have been given. Try making a list – what do you have to do today and what blessing has God given you that necessitated that task? Thank Him! You’ll be amazed at how the seemingly mundane quickly become acts of worship.
Intentionality has two parts: maximizing time spent doing mundane activities by coupling them with a time-investing activity and being purposeful in choices we make with our free time. Maximizing time can take many forms. For me, it meant using drive time to talk to my kids, pray with them and encourage them (instead of turning on a video or the radio). It has also meant listening to great teaching while sitting in traffic, or to podcasts while I clean the house. Making purposeful choices with free time means ignoring the pressure to do everything and, instead carefully selecting what we commit to (and what we commit our kids to). Downtime is not wasted time. Creating space for rest and play is actually Biblical, it’s just not natural. Difficult but not impossible. We need His help.
Won’t you join me in a prayerful commitment to renewing the attitudes of our hearts and reimagining our schedules so that we can truly serve the Lord with our time?