Part 1: The Unchangeable Purpose of God
In this article I will lay out why I believe the skill set I call Christian Time Management is something radically different from all other approaches to time management. There are innumerable “products” and schools of thought on how to best optimize this slippery concept we call “time.” Some of them are quite popular and well known, including: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and First Things First (both by Stephen Covey), the Pomodoro Technique (Francesco Cirillo), Getting Things Done (GTD) and Ready For Anything (both by David Allen), Rapid Planning Method (Tony Robbins), Master Your Time, Master Your Life (Brian Tracy), and…the list goes on.
All of them start with a premise that looks something like this: You have dreams and aspirations for your life; your current approach to organizing your day is keeping you from realizing your dreams and aspirations; so, you need to put the principles and techniques of this book into practice so that you can realize your dreams and your aspirations.
Sounds noble enough, right? I mean, we all have dreams and aspirations, and we are all seeing something less than 100% fulfillment of our dreams and aspirations. So, it’s easy for me to respond to this premise and say to myself, “I need to do better managing my time! I need to improve! I have dreams and aspirations, things God wants me to have or see fulfilled, so I need to get busy and get better at this!” A simpler decision cannot be made!
Allow me to take the chair out from underneath this happy-sounding, yet sadly unprofitable position. (<BOOM!> OK, that might’ve hurt a little.)
The problem for the Christian – and here I mean someone sold out for Jesus, someone who knows their life is all about being His disciple and following Him till life ends – is that the premise of all these books, products, and schools of thought is this: They always start with me. I, in the first person. There is no reference to God, no starting place with Him, no primacy of the relationship I have with Jesus, the One Who says to us, “Come, follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” There is no acknowledgment of the centrality of Jesus, no placing of Him at the center of my dreams and aspirations, no inclusion of His words and thoughts and passion-driven heartbeat into the equation of me learning to manage my time. My love relationship of worship and the adoration of Jesus has to be crowbarred in. You don’t see Him mentioned in these works: His Name, His Word, His will, His purposes, His glory, and His desires for mankind, the nations, and for history. None of it. Nada. Nothing.
Brethren, these things ought not to be.
So: Christian Time Management – Mark Becerra’s Christian Time Management – starts with an altogether new and revolutionary premise: We are going to first listen what God says about purpose, destiny, time, history, roles and goals, relationships, work, legacy, and other vital, time management-affecting topics. Only then, only after we’ve first listened to Papa God, are we ready to build this unique skill set, practice it, and watch our lives follow a course sure to honor Him. A life which gives full assent to His now fully revealed purposes, thus giving us the best possible opportunity and best preparation for seeing our own dreams and aspirations fulfilled –dreams we have dreamed together with God, and aspirations we have formed to see His glory fill the earth. Sound OK so far? Good, let’s continue.
So what does God have to say about these things? To borrow from Stephen Covey, let’s begin with the end in mind.
Jesus speaks about the end of all things in Matthew 28:
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen. (Matthew 28:18-20)
Here He speaks both of His supreme desire and of His non-negotiable assignment to the Church: the discipleship of all the nations. HIStory does not end till all the nations are discipled. To speak of or consider anything less than the full discipleship of all the nations is negate the words and the heart of Jesus. He wants a world full of love-drunk, love-practicing nations. He sealed history’s fate in the New Covenant made with His own blood (in the book of Hebrew this is called the “better” covenant), fully empowered its fulfillment in the nonstop sending of Holy Spirit, and in the giving of the new commandment (“love one another”). So picture this: a world full of Holy Spirit-filled, Jesus-worshiping nations who practice love one to another. At an international level, nation to nation. This is the picture Jesus wants us to get. This is the goal of history. (Better put: it is the destiny of history, there is no “other way,” no “plan B.”) And it is this goal of Jesus’ that becomes the context for my own life, for my existence, and thus for my purpose here on earth.
I am called according the love-purpose of God, and I am recruited by Him to collaborate with Him and others in completing this “all nations” discipleship project of His.
The really great news is this: when I align my life with His goals, purposes, and desires, I find a divine WHOOSH in my life – the wind of His Spirit and the unchangeableness of His purposes fill my life with energy, and my emotions burst with the joy of pursuing His will. Ask yourself this: Do you think God is anything less than 100% confident in seeing the All Nations Discipleship Project completed? OK then – so where are you at with this? If He’s 100% confident, shouldn’t we be, also?
We are called to participate in the greatest story on earth – the love story of Papa God unfolding in each person’s life – and the ramifications that has for all of life, all of history. We are called to plant, to water, and to reap as workers in The Great Harvest. (The fields are white!) All of this has direct implication for our time management principles and practices.
EXERCISE: over the next 24 hours ask yourself this question, anytime you hear or see the news and see hopelessness, despair, etc., or learn of some tragedy somewhere nearby or far away: “WHAT WOULD THIS SITUATION LOOK LIKE IF THE PEOPLE INVOLVED WERE DISCIPLED IN THE LOVE COVENANT OF JESUS?”
Next: The Unshakable Kingdom of God, the Bedrock of Christian Time Management