Four Healthy Ways to Steward Your Time

Over the last few years, I’ve grown to appreciate the process it takes to make a balanced cup of coffee. It may slow my morning down more than usual, but taking time when it comes to coffee is always worth it. When your coffee is imbalanced, you know it. It will taste sour if you rush the process, while at other times bitter depending on what you overlooked. When this happens, most people just add sugar and cream to mask the taste.

This habit connects a lot with how our culture views time. When our schedules are imbalanced, we tend to add things that are unnecessary to mask our dissatisfaction with the way things are. Here are some guiding principles for brewing coffee that I think will help you learn to steward your time well and give your life the healthy margin it needs.

1. Consult the Maker.

Coffee is as complex as our own lives when you think about it. There are different types of coffee beans. There are distinct regions of the world in which they are grown and harvested. They undergo different/cultural washing processes. They are exported to different roasters with different roasting methods...you get the picture. Whoever roasted your coffee beans probably knows more about them than you do. The roaster should easily be able to tell you where the beans came from and how best to brew them. Building a relationship with your roaster can give you much greater insight into coffee than you can pick up on your own or online.

In the same way, time is a gift from God and we can ask Him how best to use it. It shows God honor when we give Him a say in how we will use our time. One of the greatest ways to grow in stewarding our time is to consult the one who made it. We can read practicals on time management all day and apply other's wisdom, but our greatest inheritance in Jesus is relationship with our Creator. He gives us access to the source of wisdom.

For the Lord gives wisdom;
from his mouth come knowledge and understanding;
he stores up sound wisdom for the upright;
he is a shield to those who walk in integrity,
guarding the paths of justice
and watching over the way of his saints.
— Proverbs 2:6-8
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
his understanding is beyond measure.
— Psalm 147:5

What question can you ask God today? Consult your Maker and make time to listen to Him after you ask Him something. He made you. He knows what is best for you. He loves when we ask for His wisdom in humility.

2. Find your filter.

Coffee without a proper filter will leave you with a coarse, off-tasting coffee. You need to be sure to add a filter before you start brewing. When it comes to our time, what filters do you have in place that will keep you from losing track of what is important to you? A good filter would be writing down a plan and some goals for how you’d like to steward your time. Keep your plan and your goals before you, don’t allow them to go unnoticed. If you stick to the plan, you will let things naturally get filtered out. If you don’t have a filter for things you don’t want in your schedule, you will keep letting them in.

Jesus was good at saying no:

  • He said no to the devil in Matthew 4 when He was being tempted.
  • He said no to things that would cause Him to lose His time secluded with God (Luke 5:15-16).
  • He said no when His disciples tried to keep kids away from Him (Matthew 19:13-15).  
  • He said no to answering misguided questions (Matthew 21:23-27).
  • He said no to Peter who wanted to change His agenda (Matthew 16:23).

Jesus could say no because He knew what He was saying yes to. Having a yes will filter your no. What are you planning to say yes to today?

3. Don’t rush it.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2

The word, “world” in this passage is “aion”, meaning age, the time in which we live. It is the construct our surroundings are built upon. One of these constructs is an ever-shrinking efficiency timetable. Our culture puts out this underlying pressure to perform, to be quicker, to be better, to be more efficient. But faster is not always better in the long run (see The Tortoise and the Hare). Our tendency is to get lazy and to cut corners. To do the least amount of work to get the job done. But life doesn't always work out when you live this way. Life requires diligence and finesse. The ability to slow down can be the greater skill in many situations. Making time for something (or someone) can be of more value than trying to save time for elsewhere. Quick decisions are at times necessary, but not always.

The same goes for coffee, if you rush the process you will be left with coffee that tastes sour and acidic. Taking the time to slow down in the morning to make a balanced cup has helped inform other areas of my life that are constantly in hustle mode.

4. Make some for someone else.

Sharing coffee is a great joy of mine. Having a cup of coffee together is a great way to get to know someone and allow life to slow down. It’s easy to make coffee a me thing. I always have to check myself when I’m making coffee into something I’m always doing alone. In kind, my time does not exist solely for me. It was made to be lavished on the feet of Jesus. It was given to me to give to others in help and encouragement and service. Time serves me, but it will never serve me well if I refuse to let it serve others. Make time for someone else in your schedule. Put it on your calendar if you have to.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.
— John 13:34

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