By Brooke Holt
“Masters, treat your bondservants justly and fairly, knowing that you also have a Master in heaven. Continue steadfastly in prayer, being watchful in it with thanksgiving. At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison—that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak. Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” Colossians 4:1-6
Time management is a hot topic today. A plethora of books, seminars, and online teachings can guide you to the perfect time management system. As technology has developed throughout the ages, the expectation was human productivity would increase. Yet, technology can often be a deterrent to effective work. Just think about your life. How often are you trying to focus on a task, and your cell phone rings or beeps with a text? As you work on the business document due at noon, the email continues to ding with new demands. It is hard to stay single-focused in this technologically advanced age.
The goal of time management is to learn how to make the best use of time. Well before the invention of cell phones, Paul was encouraging Christians to optimize their time. His goal for time management was much different than people's today. He wasn’t looking for a greater earthly profit but for the greater advancement of the kingdom of God. And Paul knew advancement would come not just through words but through how the church manifested itself in the world. Christians were to behave differently at home, in their businesses, in conflict, and in everything they did.
Throughout this letter to the Colossians, Paul has been teaching how to live in the way of Jesus Christ. As he wraps up the letter, he continues this teaching. Christians are to live in harmony with one another, treating each other with respect and love, knowing God created every person in his image. And then there is the command to stay steadfast in prayer. Not just to pray at dinner or church but throughout the day. Prayer is the gift of communication between God and his people. You can’t see him, but you can talk to him constantly. Paul says not to just pray for oneself but for him and all ministers to have the right words to say at the right time and places. God’s people are to always look for new opportunities to share the Gospel and pray the Lord would make the way and prepare hearts to receive him.
For Paul, time management was all about building the kingdom of God. He recognized every moment of every day was an opportunity to demonstrate the love of Jesus to people and share the good news of the Gospel with them. It was about having eyes to see God and his people, ears to hear his voice and then tell others what he said, a heart to receive his love and then pour that love out on others, and a mind to operate in godly wisdom. When God’s people surrender their lives to him, he can do glorious things in and through them. They use time for his glory and the building of his kingdom. In God’s economy, that is making the best use of time.
Do your time management skills resemble those of the world or God’s kingdom? We would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
Follow the ancient way of the Psalms and find the life God has for you. A model for vibrant worship, the Psalms provide practical wisdom to traverse the circuitous path of life with trust and hope. Pilgrim’s Path: A Study of the Psalms traces our spiritual walk with God—from discovery and delight, through doubt and disappointment, into joyful confidence. Whether used for individual or group study, Pilgrim’s Path is for everyone who seeks to know and love God more and find life in him.
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