[Originally published in the Monroe News on Friday, August 2, 2019]
How many of you readers out there would say you are feeling the effects of the time crunch? Doesn’t it seem as though there are less hours and minutes in the day with each new day that passes? There is rarely enough time to accomplish all the things we set out to do.
I’ll be the first to admit I’m a slave to my watch and to the clock. I’d be like a lost puppy dog if someday I forgot my watch at home and had to navigate a day without knowing the time. This is consistent with the rest of my personality which is an “always on the move” type. Just ask my wife. In recent days I’ve felt the time crunch as much as ever before. Since March, my wife and I have been enjoying the blessing of our new baby daughter, as well as raising our three older boys. Having gone almost ten years between babies we had nearly forgotten just how much time these little ones demand. I’m also deeply committed to my ministry and work at Grace Lutheran which amounts to a bit more than a full-time job on a weekly basis. As many of you know, Pastors do actually put in a few more hours every week than just showing up for Sunday service to preach. I also work to balance responsibilities around the house and taking care of our cars. I try to find time to be outside and play with my boys. I also made the somewhat crazy decision to train for another ultramarathon which is coming in September. Some evenings as I find a split second to try and relax on the couch I wonder “what was I thinking?”
I’m quick to understand that I’m not alone in these feelings. I’m sure most of you out there have similarly busy schedules and routines and are also feeling the pressure to make time for it all. Those of you with children or those of you in charge of businesses and companies may especially feel the responsibility and the pressure to devote adequate time to all the places needed. It is an ever present struggle to prioritize time. Some of you may also know the sense of guilt that comes when you feel you haven’t given enough time to things important to you. I definitely have days where I feel this. I look at my kids growing older and things we haven’t had time to do and I sense that guilt of what I think are missed opportunities and days gone by. How does a person handle and reconcile all of this?
We have to be able to live with the fact that we simply can’t do it all. We must recognize that our God-given ability to prioritize is dearly needed. We only have so many hours before us and all that we can do is make the most of the time given us. But there is more. The Bible give us a witness of how God handles His responsibilities over us. In Psalm 8:3-4 we read this: “When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?” When I hear these verses I am reminded that God is the Creator of all things. This means He is the maker of the billions of stars in the heavens, He is the maker of all living things on this earth, He is the maker of every hair on my head and every intricate curve and spiral of my fingerprints. With all of the vastness of this universe, God is still mindful of me. God is mindful of you. Where I have to prioritize how my time is used and accept the fact that there will be things in my life I don’t have time for, it is not so with God. He is mindful of us, every last one of us. This is comforting in knowing that not a single one of us gets the short end of the stick with God. No one gets forgotten, no one gets left out of God’s attention and love. Jesus reminds us of this in Matthew 10:29-31 “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not, therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.”
I don’t know if I’ll ever figure out the solution to my shortages of time, maybe you won’t either. Perhaps we can pray together for guidance and help in this matter. One thing we do share and rejoice in though, is that we are indeed of great value before our Creator and Father in heaven.
To God be the glory.
Mark Witte is the pastor at Grace Lutheran Church. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org