We often find ourselves wondering where time has gone. “How is it already 5:00pm?” “How is my kid already in high school?” “When did my hair turn grey?” Among these questions—and the countless other ways we question the passage of time—emerges a key aspect to a flourishing life, making the most out of the time we have. This is a lesson I learned the hard way at the loss of my father. For five years, I watched cancer slowly take his life. Ultimately, he passed when I was only seventeen years old. Not a day goes by that I do not regret taking better advantage of the time I had with my father, and yet, not a day passes that I am not simultaneously grateful for that time.
In the final hours of his life, my father sat me down and shared the details of what it means to be a man of God. With each passing moment, he brought words to the life he had led up to that point, a life of Christ-like love and compassion. In my book, The Power of 1440: Making the Most Out of Every Minute in a Day, I have done my best to compile the lessons that I learned from my father, alongside every experience that has occurred since. As pastors, time is of the essence regarding the lives of our families, our congregations, and, of course, ourselves. What follows is a snapshot of some of the ways we, as pastors, can make the most of our time. After all, as Paul writes in Ephesians 5:15-16, we must “look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time…” There is truly no time to waste.
MAKE THE MOST BY: Shifting Your Mindset
Mindset is one of the most influential drivers of everyday happenings. It’s always fascinated me that two people can be presented with a similar scenario and yet come out with entirely different outcomes based upon their approach. That approach, in fact, always begins with mindset. In Romans 12:2, Paul writes this: “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Thus, as pastors, we must replace a mundane mindset with one of miraculous expectations. A mundane mindset simply thinks God is far away, focuses on what is lacking, sees time as an obstacle, focuses on what can’t be done, feels entitled to more than what is, confuses spectacle with special, and feels bound by limitation. On the other hand, the miraculous mindset sees God’s presence in everything, counts every blessing, treats moments as perfect, believes anything is possible, is grateful for everything, sees the value in seemingly small things, and expects every door to open. Which mindset will you choose today?
MAKE THE MOST BY: Maximizing Your Thoughts
In light of the importance of mindset, you can also make the most of every minute by maximizing your thoughts. Paul informs his audience in Romans 8:5-6 that “those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.” In this way, we must learn to shift the focus of our thoughts to match that of God’s perspective. In other words, don’t believe everything you think. Take the time to observe, feel, question, and choose wisely the thoughts you desire to take root. Maximization of thought is directly correlated to maximization of time. What thoughts will you choose to take root? (Spoiler alert: you can’t go wrong when you choose thoughts rooted in love).
MAKE THE MOST BY: Focusing on What YOU Can Control
As pastors, I think it is safe to say that we love control. In the end, the painful truth is that we have very little control over most things. Still, we often try to take hold of that which we were never meant to carry. The truth of the matter is that every act of control is an active sign of surrender. In this way, the desires of our hearts are revealed on the elements of life through which we force control. Get this in your head: God wants you out of control. If you’re going to make the most of your time, you need to let God control that which only he can control. Think of it like this: Joshua informed Israel of the following in Joshua 24:15: “if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” In what areas of your life and work do you need to relinquish control?
MAKE THE MOST BY: Spending Time with the Right People
It’s not only vital that we focus on how we spend our time, but also on who we spend that time. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 stresses that we “encourage one another and build one another up.” In this way, it is crucial that we spend precious time with those we hold most dear, those who will lift you up and serve as a “tangible Jesus,” of sorts. These are the types of people who pull out our best, reveal our flaws, and help to grow us in ways we could never do on our own. Who are those people for you? Take the time to make them a part of your schedule.
MAKE THE MOST BY: Giving Your Self Away, Today
It may not be our natural intuition to think that we make the most of our time by giving it away to others. In reality, by giving yourself away, your time comes alive in ways you never knew possible. Often, we seek to make the most of our time by creating an individualistic avenue of self-care alone. While this is indeed a necessary action, it must be paired with the art of blessing others. The truth is that there is reciprocal power in blessing others. In this way, as you seek to bless others, you, too, will be blessed. This can be done through service, encouragement, general acts of kindness, and everything in between. Learn to master the balance between self-care and blessing others, and you will simultaneously learn to make the most of every moment. Whom should you bless today?
How to Use This Resource
In Romans 13:11 and 13, Paul shares the following powerful advice: “besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed…. Let us walk properly…” Intuitively, we know this to be true regarding our everyday lives. That is to say, it is often shocking to see the swiftness of a day’s time and the aging process of our personal lives. Paul, however, takes this intuition to another level through the perspective of salvation itself. In other words, on this side of the New Heaven and the New Earth, time is indeed numbered. Thus, both the awareness and practicality of stewarding time are of utmost importance for all of humanity. This message is not only for pastors but for all. Feel free to pass this article on to others to help them see how crucial it is to lead a flourishing life. For more thoughts and practical steps, consider reading The Power of 1440: Making the Most Out of Every Minute in a Day. I am confident it will be a blessing to you and those you love.
About the Author
Tim Timberlake is the lead pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida and Creedmoor, North Carolina. He is a gifted communicator and teacher who has the ability to communicate to people from all walks of life. His sense of humor, combined with his in-depth Bible teaching, gives the listener and reader the tools to transform their lives from the inside out. Tim is a graduate of the Pistis School of Ministry in Detroit, Michigan. He takes pleasure in the small things, is an avid sports fan and a popular thought leader. Most importantly, He is a son of God, a loving husband to his wife Jennifer, and the proud father of their son Maxwell Ace Timberlake.