Tuesday, April 4, 2023

Ordering Your Time (Proverbs 24:27; 27:23–27)

"Prepare your outside work … afterward build your house" (Prov. 24:27).

If you could count the number of times you have been late, how many hours, days, or even months would comprise the total? Should you examine the root causes for being late, what would they be? Failure to order your time would have to be at the top of the list. Yesterday, we learned that one way to improve our time is to pursue all we do with persevering diligence. While we may endeavor to be diligent, we often seem unable to accomplish our goals because we have not ordered our days aright. We have not established priorities in a daily routine and marked the time needed to accomplish the necessities (and enjoyments) of the day. Often, our lack of punctuality flows from a chaotic lifestyle.

On the subject of redeeming the time, John Angell James wrote, “A habit of order may be fairly said to lengthen a man’s life, not by multiplying its hours, but by enabling him more advantageously to employ them. Disorderly habits are perpetually wasting our time. When a person has no particular place to put his things, but lays everything down just wherever he may happen to be, he is sure to spend his life in confusion. Let such a person conceive what an amount of time would be made up by all the minutes and hours which he has employed during his life in looking for misplaced articles; to say nothing of the mortification he has endured and the inconvenience in which others have been involved. In business, order is property, and every tradesman deficient in this virtue, ought, in taking stock, to have this item on the loss side of the balance-sheet, ‘So much lost for want of order.’ And, as disorderly habits waste our time, they are not only improper, but actually sinful.”

If you value your time and the time of others, you will order your days in such a way to accomplish your purposes. You will then find yourself keeping your appointments instead of being late. People who are constantly late should not laugh at such a habit, but should be ashamed that they waste the time God has given them, not to mention wasting time given to others. To avoid this pitfall, order your days according to fixed priorities, allowing for some wise flexibility. Plan ahead and leave nothing, as far as possible, to accident or chance.

Proverbs 24:27 deals with setting priorities. Take care of important things first, and order your days according to set priorities. Today make a list of your responsibilities and activities. Prioritize all you have to do and want to do. Make a rough schedule for each day. Post your priorities and schedule prominently as a reminder.