Sunday, August 28, 2011


After time, the second most important resource we have is energy. Where does our energy come from? It is generated by the food we eat; but efficient use of that energy depends on our physical and emotional well being. If we simply eat without training our body and mind to use and focus the energy properly, much of it is wasted or at least inaccessible. The really interesting thing about energy is that we have access to all of it at any time. So I can teach all day at 100% and play with my little boys at 100% for several hours in the evening (if I'm in shape). We don't need to 'save' 50% of our energy for when work is over, only working at 50% for those 8 hours. For this to work, we need activity that puts us in condition mentally and physically to access that energy AND we must decide to invest all our energy all day long in the people and activities of value to us.

There may be activities which involve very little or no energy - watching TV for example. Though I enjoy it once in a while, I realize that if it does not demand much energy, it is probably not worth my time either. Remember that mental energy - conversation, problem solving, critical thinking, analysis - is just as valuable as physical energy. But we need to train ourselves daily in both areas because our tendency is always toward laziness. I don't have any studies to support my ideas here, sorry. If someone has data which supports or refutes me, I would love to hear it. I guess I will have to invest more time and energy here - when I have some to invest...

Thursday, August 04, 2011

A walk in the garden

Time is definitely the hardest thing to manage because no mater how many times I try to reorganize my time, it actually changes very little. There are always demands on our time that seem impossible to minimize no matter how little value we place on them. And in talking to retired people, they seem to be much busier now than when they had a job. Some of this is a matter of perspective.

For example, there is a saying in Kenya that goes, "Africans have time but no watches. Americans have watches but no time." Our culture is constantly aware of the present. Technology has augmented this with a constant supply of information - GPS location, stock quotes on our smart phone, FaceBook status updates, and the list is endless. History is only alive if it was after the last election. Even last year's memories fade faster than ever as we fly from one adventure, to another business deal, to the next text message and virtual meeting. And the 3 elements of time that force our constant attention are precision, coordination and pressure. . . . STOP! . . . I think I hear Someone calling my name. He called to Adam and Eve in the Garden, "Where are you?" Do you ever wonder what they talked about on their evening walks? Can you even imagine? After a busy day of naming animals, playing in the stream and eating the freshest, most delicious fruit, they meet with God for a walk. Do they discuss Quantum Physics and internal medicine or just chat about the glorious changing colors as the sun fades behind the hills?

I think the answer to our time dilemma is the One asking that question, "Where are you?" I think His presence is the only thing that gives meaning to our existence and value to our time. The only real purpose for time is to understand the weight of His glory, the power of His love, the uniqueness of His holiness in the joy of His presence. Psalm 32 gives us a glimpse of how to get back to the enjoyment of His presence. Verses 1-5 are a recognition of our sorry condition. We must turn from our sin and our slavery to time or our body will waste away! Verses 6-7 contrast the flood of waters where there is no salvation to the hiding place found in the Person who surrounds us with songs of deliverance. Verse 8 is a steady walk, a purposeful walk under the counsel of His eye, not a bridle or whip. This is the walk of one who responds to the slightest movement, even the mood of the Guide. Verses 10-11 is a life filled with worship. The groaning, loneliness and silence is gone and the joy of communion and community is pervasive. We are walking again in the Garden in the cool of the evening.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Time as a resource

An evaluation of resources: I plan to discuss, in the next 4 or 5 posts, the concept of what some might call 'stewardship' but really it is just using well what each of us have at our disposal. Stewardship concepts that deal only with finances are sorely missing out on the true richness of the resources available to us. I will save environmental issues for another time, but 'stewardship' also refers to our care and management of creation, which is God's very first command to Adam and Eve in Genesis 1:28.

There are really only 3 resources available to us – Time, Energy and Money. I suppose that education or experience could be considered resources, but time and energy and sometimes money must be spent in the process of getting them so I won't consider them here. So, which is the most valuable of the three?

I believe that time is our most valuable resource and should be used with the most care simply because it is not renewable. When a day or even a minute is used, it can never be retrieved again. All of us only have a certain number of days and they seem to go faster as each year passes. I am not promoting a life of endless work nor of endless amusement, but we must carefully consider how we use our time. Some might promote a 'tithing' of our time so that we give an appropriate amount to God or the church, but this is a very weak and inconsistent view of stewardship. All of our time must belong to God or none of it is really His at all. God set aside one day in seven to rest and commands us to keep that day holy or 'set apart' as a special day for worship, but I do not believe that other days should be unholy or void of worship! All our days are a special gift from God. All days are ordained by Him to worship and live out our calling of service to Him and others.

So how should we divide our time? I believe that God has first called us to care for our parents, spouses, children and ourselves and this demands the greater part of our time and our financial resources. I Timothy 5:8 says that those who do not care for their families have “denied the faith”. Between 6 and 8 hours of every day is needed just for our personal rest. Of course all of us must eat and work so that we can buy food and provide a place to sleep every night. All this takes time – probably 70-80% of most days for the rest of our lives. And the time spent here is blessed by God as a part of His original plan for us. Even before the Fall, Adam and Eve were to care for the Garden and the animals in it as well as for each other while being fruitful, bearing and raising children to do the same after them. Work and providing for our household is the very first commandment in Scripture (Genesis 1:28) and implies a blessing from God. There is a warning, however, that “those who want to get rich fall into temptation” (I Tim. 6:9) and “If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.” (vs. 8) So caring for yourself and your family must be balanced with contentment in an attitude of humility, not a constant striving for more or better or bigger, which characterizes our materialistic society.