In the first chapter of James, we’re promised that God will give us wisdom when we ask. Not only that, but we are commanded to pray for wisdom.
This isn’t just wisdom to make the major decisions of our lives, but wisdom to handle even the seemingly insignificant situations.
In this podcast episode, I talk about this promise from God – as well as about the connection between wisdom and time management that is all throughout scripture.
Feel free to add to the discussion below the transcript:
Welcome to the Life of a Steward Christian Time Management Podcast. From Biblical instruction to systems and tips to motivation and inspiration, we look at time management from a Christian perspective. We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
In this episode, we’ll take a brief look at the biblical connection between wisdom and the way we manage our time. We’ll talk about the command to pray for wisdom, and how having the right mindset here can change our life.
Hello again – this is Loren Pinilis from Life of a Steward.com. Welcome to another episode. It has been a wild time for me lately. One of my fears with blogging on the subject of time management is that – I don’t want people to perceive me as having it all together. And having it all figured out. Part of the reason that I’ve read so much on time management and have thought so much about time management is because I’m really bad at it and have realized I want to be better.
These last few weeks have been quite hectic for me. My work is seasonal, so I’ve been slammed recently and have kept putting off and putting off this podcast – just because there have been so many other urgent things that I’ve had to take care of.
So I say that to apologize for the silence for so long and to pledge to be better and also just to hopefully humbly admit to you that I’m still figuring out all of this time stewardship stuff too.
One of the things I’ve come to realize about the Life of a Steward blog and this podcast is that the subjects I talk about and the points I make are often the things that God is showing me personally and the way I’m personally growing and just what I’m thinking about at the moment. It’s a privilege and it’s fun to share with people the things that have been on your mind, so we’re going to do that today.
The Resources at Our Disposal
A while ago, I wrote a post called “One Reason Why You Shouldn’t Downplay the Sin of Wasted Time” and the point I made is that when we look at the very first part of James Chapter 1, we see James telling people to rejoice when they go through trials – because ultimately that makes you stronger. And I talked in the post about how we downplay wasting time and we pretend that it’s not a big deal, everyone’s doing it, then we don’t treat it like the struggle that it really is. And then we miss out on the perseverance that we can gain by fighting our misuse of time, and we miss out on all of the resources that God can make available to us to be victorious in this struggle.
When we don’t think it’s serious, we don’t treat it seriously, and God is right there not only saying that how we use our time is way more serious than we realize but he’s saying, “I’m here to help you fight. Let me fight for you.”
Then it continues on in James. The very next verse, verse 5, says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.”
This is a promise that has been on my mind a lot lately – that God will give us wisdom.
I think the context here is in the midst of suffering and basically saying that if we’re going through trials and we don’t see how they could possibly be beneficial, then we can ask God to give us insight and wisdom concerning this trial.
But I believe the promise applies to much more.
Think about it: Isn’t it amazing that our God is such a great God that he wants us to have wisdom. He’s there saying that he promises to give us wisdom when we ask.
But here’s something that I found interesting as I was looking at this. In James where it says “If any of you lacks in wisdom, let him ask God,” the phrase there for “let him ask God” – that’s actually a command in the grammar. Not only is God promising to give us wisdom but he commands us to ask for it.
So how many times have you had a major decision to make? Ask for wisdom. If you’re struggling with a particular sin and you want to know how to fight it – ask for wisdom. You’re commanded to ask for wisdom. If you’re stressed and have so much on your plate – you know you need to prioritize better but you don’t know where to start or what to get rid of – ask for wisdom. If you’re wondering what productivity system or method would work best for your life or if you should agree to this time commitment or how best to fight your procrastination tendencies – then ask for wisdom.
God is not up in heaven sighing at you. He’s not mad that you’re bugging him. He’s not up there saying that the way you manage your time doesn’t matter – I believe that it’s way more important to God than we realize. He’s not up in heaven rolling his eyes at your problems. He’s ready to fly into action to help and give you the wisdom and insight you need if you just ask. It’s a promise.
Our Barriers to Asking
So why don’t we do this? Why in the world are we not asking ALL THE TIME for God to give us wisdom? What are the barriers that prevent us from regularly asking for wisdom?
I think one reason is in our minds that our small little problems don’t register on our radar of importance. We think they’re too small to really matter to God. Just figuring out what task I should do next on a Thursday at 2:45 – is that really a wisdom issue? Yeah, I can see what house I buy or who I marry or what job I take – but the smaller issues like the way I handle my time just doesn’t seem important.
The Connection between Time Management and Wisdom
Interestingly, in Ephesians 5 – probably the most famous passage on time management in the Bible – it says that we should look carefully how you walk, making the best use of the time (or some translations say redeeming the time). And it says that we should live this way to be not as the unwise but as the wise.
In Colossians 4:5, we’re told to make the best use of our time – again some translations say redeeming the time) and here we do this so that we can “walk in wisdom.”
In Psalm 90, we’re told to number our days so that we may get what? Get a heart of wisdom.
So there’s a huge connection in scripture between the way that we handle our time and wisdom. Not only is it wisdom to understand the importance of managing our time, but when we manage our time properly that displays great wisdom.
If you want to manage your time well from a biblical perspective, scripture says “be wise.”
So it’s not a small matter. Asking God to help you manage your time or to overcome whatever struggles you’re facing – that’s not a small thing. It’s what wise people do.
Another reason that we don’t pray for wisdom is that we’re self sufficient. We want to do things on our own. And this goes hand in hand with the previous part about thinking that some matters were just small and unimportant. We tend to just want to do the small stuff ourselves, to be self sufficient there and not want to bug God – maybe we’ll come to him with the major decisions.
A lot of the time we’ll pray and we’ll come to God after our results have failed. I know that tends to be my way of working. I try to do things on my own and then when everything falls apart, that’s when I’m on my knees.
But what if I bathed everything in prayer beforehand? What if my first inclination was to pray for wisdom?
Fear of Answered Prayer
And a final reason that I see why we don’t regularly pray for wisdom is that sometimes we really don’t want to k now the answer. Deep down we may know that God would force us to confront idols in our life. He would show us some things about ourselves that we may not want to see. And then breaking us of those idols may put us through some difficult times.
It goes back to the old joke about be careful what you pray for, you just might get it. It seems that God teaches us about patience and perseverance and faith and hope in the midst of trials, like we were talking about originally in James. So there’s this fear that praying for wisdom is going to mess with our comfortable life – that praying for wisdom is going to open up the doors to God to put us through trials.
It sounds so silly to say it like that, but this mindset really is very pervasive. I used to be like this. I used to be really afraid to pray for certain things because I didn’t want God to break me, or I’d pray that God would please, please, please teach me these lessons but not put me through any hardship.
Trusting God’s Tenderness
But then I realized something which has changed the way I approach prayer. This isn’t really anything intellectually amazing. It’s probably things you’ve heard before. But the tough part is internalizing it so much you really believe it. And that’s what I mean when I say that I realized something – I now believe it in my heart, in the core of my being.
I realized that God is not up in heaven laughing every time I pray for wisdom. He’s not standing up there saying “You’ve messed up now” and getting ready to crack me with a lightning bolt. He’s not up there excited that I’ve prayed for wisdom or patience so that opened up a loophole where now he’s going to put me through a lot of really tough times just to amuse himself – because after all, technically I prayed for it.
He’s a loving father who’s going to treat me as tenderly as possible. He’s going to do the bare minimum needed to get his desired result. He’s not going to throw my life into a tailspin just for fun. He’s not going to hit me with a sledgehammer when a slap on the wrist would have sufficed.
It has been revolutionary for me to get to a point where I can pray, Lord have your way with me. I know you’re going to handle me tenderly and lovingly and gently. I trust you to do what’s best for me in every way.
You’re not going to give me a snake when I ask for a fish, you’re not going to give me a stone when I ask for some bread. I trust you completely.
I’m going to pray for wisdom, patience, self control, knowledge, a deeper walk with you, more faith, a deeper love for you – and I’m not worried about the way that you’re going to bring about those things. You are tender and loving and gentle – and I trust you completely.
That’s so easy to understand intellectually. But to pray that way and to really feel no hesitation in your heart – that’s a different thing all together.
So my question to you is what situations are you struggling with? Where do you need wisdom? What stuck out to you from this podcast – what is God showing you?
If you have any other thoughts to add, I’d love to hear from you – head over to Lifeofasteward.com and leave a comment.
And again if you have any questions you’d like me to answer on the podcast, just Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Until next time, this is Loren Pinilis from Lifeofasteward.com.
Remember: We want to make the most of our time, not to make much of us but to make much of him. Not to earn anything but because he’s already earned it. Join me next time where we’ll look at more time management tips from a Christian perspective as we seek together to live the Life of a Steward.
Photo Credit: Jenny Downing (Creative Commons)
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