Character Trait No. 21
Definition: Accomplishing the greatest productivity by preparing myself and my environment.
“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil.” Eph. 5:15,16
Time management is life management. Efficiency is essential to be fruitful. “Time is money,” said one of America’s founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin. However, more importantly, the proper use of our minutes and seconds on a daily basis is the key to successful holiness or practicing righteousness. Working harder is good, but working harder and smarter is much better. Being inefficient cannot please a God who never wastes a single moment. Our Lord is a purposeful and efficient God. All of human history, when properly interpreted (understood) is a story illustrating God’s tremendous activity for the past 6000+ years. Jesus said, “My Father is working until now, and I Myself am working.” John 5:17 This explained how even on man’s “day of rest”, God keeps right on efficiently working every minute.
Famous Restoration Bible scholar, J.W. McGarvey, wrote on this verse:
“If Jesus was indeed God, their [the Jews] knowledge of divine conduct in the whole
realm of nature clearly justified him, and the miracle asserted his divine control in
nature’s realm. While God rested from creation on the sabbath, nothing can be
clearer than that the works of sustenance, reproduction, healing and providence, God
has never rested, and never made distinctions between the days of our week. In the
light of the gospel we find also that his redemptive work has never ceased, and,
considering the part which Jesus was even then accomplishing in this field of labor,
his words, ‘and I work,’ are full of meaning.”
McGarvey was saying that since Jesus was divine (like God), and since God works on every day, He could work on that day without “breaking the Sabbath”. The Jews got the main point and were infuriated and wanted to kill him because He was “calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.” John 5:18
Now we are privileged to be called “sons of God”. John 1:12 If Jesus was always working, like His Father who is also our Father, then what should we be doing? And how did/does Jesus work? Efficiently is the correct answer. God gets things done, and He does His work perfectly. Remember the motto: Good, better, best. I’ll never rest ‘til my good is better and my better is best and my best is perfect!
We are capable of learning how to work as Jesus worked. We can “do all things through Him who strengthens us”. (Phil. 4:13) This is not the slave labor of cringing, fearful prisoners of sin under Satan – Pharaoh’s whips driving us on – but the joyful volunteer offerings of free men. Note how the newly freed slaves gave for building the tabernacle in Exodus 36:5,6. The people were bringing more than enough. “Let neither man nor woman any longer perform work for the contribution of the sanctuary.”
God’s army of newly freed slaves can likewise become very efficient in accomplishing each task entrusted to our stewardship. We are, in Christ, competent and capable people. It’s also useful to remember that Jesus worked as a carpenter before beginning His preaching ministry. Jesus was a blue-collar working man.
Here’s how to become more efficient:
- Learn how to “kill two birds with one stone”. Double up on trips to town or jobs.
- Keep alert and fit by regular aerobic exercise and adequate rest. Eat properly.
- Make short-term and long-term goals.
- Pray more before planning and working. Then act decisively. God gives wisdom (James 1:5).
- Recruit good help and use proper tools.
- Set deadlines. These speed production.
- Save costs but don’t cut quality. Quality is the mark of excellence. God’s work is all excellent. “It is good,” He said after each of the six days of creation.
- Eliminate waste in time, money and energy. See how few steps you can take to get a repetitive daily task done.
- Keep your workplace neat and tidy.
- Learn good management techniques. Good management = efficiency. (Things like day planners, voice mail, tape recorders, “to do” lists, etc.)
- Look, listen, and learn! Get expert advice and access information resources – library, internet, experienced friends. Seek out a successful man who is doing what you want to do and sit at his feet.
- Habits help! Establish efficient routines for doing most things. Have a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly schedule.
Remember that you are the general manager of your own life (Jesus is the owner, proprietor and president). We will give an account of how well we direct our affairs
(II Cor. 5:10). We must make the most of the time and be good stewards of this precious gift of life entrusted to us. Most importantly, the church should be a well-oiled efficiency machine in the production of new disciples by doing its main job – evangelism. Inefficiency in soul-winning is not an option. The fire department or coast guard must be quick and efficient in saving lives from fire and water. So must we, God’s firemen for Jesus.