Time Management

Mark 5: 21 – 24

And when Jesus had crossed over again in the boat to the other side, a great multitude gathered about Him; and He stayed by the seashore. And one of the synagogue officials named Jairus came up and upon seeing Him, fell at His feet, and entreated Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death; please come and lay Your hands on her that she may get well and live.” And He went off with him.

I have been thinking a lot about time management these days and I have decided that I need divine help. In good faith we make our plans but how many know that our ways are not God’s ways (Isaiah 55: 8). With best intentions I make my lists, block off in my calendar the time necessary but inevitably something comes up that disrupts my plan. But then, just look at Jesus’ life. I can understand why He had to be directly plugged into His father and I am realizing I need the same thing. 

Look at today’s verse. When Jesus crossed over the sea and landed on the other side don’t you imagine that he had a plan for what he would do when he arrived. No sooner than he set foot on land than a mass of people surrounded him. Perhaps he was planning some quiet time with his father or maybe he wanted to have a bite of lunch. Oh well, Jesus, there are thousands of people who want your attention. So what did Jesus do? “He stayed by the seashore” (v. 21). One thing I have learned as I have struggled with and prayed over time management the last couple of months is that there is nothing in my plan or even in Jesus’ that is more important to God than even one of His children. Regardless of our plan if someone calls and needs to talk or emails, it seems that always jumps to the highest priority. The point of the ministry is people. The point of Jesus coming to earth was people. There is nothing more important than one of God’s kids even if he or she seems to be the least of all. So despite Jesus’ plan, he stayed at the seashore and ministered to the masses.

But it didn’t end there. While he was attending to the multitude a man named Jairus implored him to leave what he was doing and instead hurry to his home to heal his little daughter. Jesus didn’t get irritated or frustrated. I am sure that he checked in his spirit to hear what the father was saying to him. Then he turned to accompany the man to his home. Again, Jesus’ plan was thwarted but he was listening to his father so off he went in another direction. Wouldn’t you know it, before they could reach Jairus’ house Jesus was waylaid again. Come On! This has to be getting frustrating by now, right?

You’ve read the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Well, here is where it fits in. As they made their way to Jairus’ house the woman touched the hem of Jesus’ cloak and Jesus, sensing that power had gone out of him, stopped and asked, “Who touched my garments?” His disciples looked at him incredulously. In modern parlance they said, “Really Jesus? Really? People are swarming us on every side and you ask, “Who touched me?” (Paraphrase v. 30). And as incensed as the disciples were their reaction probably paled to that of Jairus. He must have been thinking, “Hey, my little daughter is lying upon the point of death and you stop to ask who touched you.” I know I would have been coming out of my skin if I were in Jairus’ sandals. While Jesus stood there talking to the woman who was, by the way, healed of the issue of blood, servants came from Jairus’ house bearing the news that his daughter had died. Can you even imagine the pain and anger that must have instantly flooded Jairus’ body?

So what was God thinking? Was Jesus really listening to God or was he just letting everyone pull him this way and that without a thought to what he should do and when? Isn’t this the dilemma we all face each day? You make your plan; you are going to get some of the things off of your desk that are like anchors weighing you down. Within thirty minutes someone is knocking on your office door, the phone is ringing, your computer dings incessantly with incoming emails half of them marked urgent and your plan, your priority is right out the window. With an exhausted sigh you put down your pen and begin to deal with the multitude which is pressing in on you.

Well, I do not have this whole time management thing figured out yet but here is what I am learning. When you make your plan, do your best to check in your spirit to see if your plan is what God has in mind. Then when the wheels start coming off of your plan, don’t panic. Even though God ratified your plan that does not mean that He isn’t going to call an audible right in the middle of it. Get ready to hear from Him again because He is calling a new play. No problem, just tune into your spirit again and listen. Take a deep breath, relax and feel what God is saying to you about your task list. Sometimes he may have you schedule some of those folks for later in the day; sometimes He will encourage you to help them right now. He is working everything out for your good so you have to listen to Him throughout the day. 

In conclusion I think what God is teaching me is to start out with a plan but not to serve the plan. Let the plan serve me while I serve Him. He and I are both masters of the plan. The only way I can get everything done that needs to be done is to listen to Him throughout the day and let Him shift the priorities for me. Otherwise I often will either stick too rigidly to my schedule or go so far astray that I get nothing substantial done. He will always lead us in the perfect way if we can relax a little and let Him speak into our workday. And, don’t even be surprised if He adds some downtime into your day. He knows what He is doing.