Encouraging Truth for When There Never Seems to be Enough Time
Is it just me, or are there days that feel like we're in a time warp? If you've ever seen the movie Groundhog Day, it's like the scene where they capture how rapidly one day bleeds into the next.
Bill Murray lays his head on his pillow at night and blink. The alarm rings, and he's off and running. Count to three, and he's laying his head back on his pillow! What gives?
The first verse in Ecclesiastes Chapter 3 says,
"There is a time for everything…."
What I wouldn't give to remove the article "a" and read, "there is time for everything!"
Years ago, a friend and I were lamenting over our overwhelming "to-do lists" when she said something that, to this day, I still think about. She said,
"The thing I keep reminding myself of is this… I'm an infinite being, and my to-do lists are finite. Somehow that helps me keep things in perspective."
We are infinite beings! Even though the lists, the work, and the TIME we have here are finite. When we remember that, our perspective can shift.
This passage from Ecclesiastes reminds us there are proper times for things to happen. As the Word says, "a season for every activity under heaven." God knows how busy we are. He knows that each day has its own demands and that those demands can be taxing. Jesus said, "Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:34 NIV)
And yet, busy days and overwhelming to-do lists don't give us a hall pass when it comes to carefully prioritizing how we spend our time.
In the same context of the verse we just shared from Matthew, Jesus reminds us to "Seek first the kingdom of God." The promise follows, "and all these things will be added unto you." (Matthew 6:33)
What exactly are "all these things?" We find the answer if we keep working backward through the Scripture.
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them."
The best way to describe a pagan would be to say that they are the opposite of a believer.
As I pondered this, I thought, Lord, "How many times have I 'run after all these things just like a non-believer?"
In the course of my lifetime, I wonder, how many hours or even days and weeks have I lost out on things that really mattered because, like a pagan, I didn't really believe that God would take care of things.
Mercy… my laundry.
I realize that God isn't going to send reinforcements to help us buy groceries, cook supper, pay bills, and ensure clean underwear is in the drawer.
But I wonder how different our days would look if we lived our lives trusting that God will help us accomplish exactly what HE wants us to accomplish.
There's a popular hashtag out there #preachingittomyself. I need to hear the wisdom in this verse as much or more as the next guy! Multiple times each day, I find myself asking God to help me trust Him with what I believe I am called to accomplish.
"Open my eyes, Lord. Help me see what needs to be done and what does not."
Who of us wants to engage in a futile task? We all want to do good works. We want to engage in meaningful activities, but sometimes it's hard to know how to sort through our daily tasks and prioritize them.
Ecclesiastes has been described as "… a famous–– maybe the world's most famous –– witness to the experience of futility."
A few weeks ago, I shared about the difference between living a fertile life and one that was futile… the futile life being one that lacks meaning. Repeatedly, the author of Ecclesiastes unpacks activities and observes, "this too is meaningless!"
According to Eugene Peterson, the book exposes "our total incapacity to find the meaning and completion of our lives On. Our. Own." He continues, "Unbelievers and believers notice. More than a few are surprised to find this kind of writing in the Bible. But it is most emphatically and necessarily in the Bible to call a halt to our various and futile attempts to make something of our lives so that we can give our full attention to God–– who God is and what he does to make something of us."
God wants you and I to draw closer to Him. When we invite Him into our daily activities, He is faithful. We can trust Him. He will guide us regarding what needs to be done and what doesn't. He'll help us carve our time in such a fashion that we do what matters most––to love Him and love others.
This is the making of a meaningful life.