Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Good Things Can Happen

This is part five of the five-part series: Don’t Deny the Gospel.

We’ve looked at how wanting to reduce stress can be a bad thing, how wanting to accomplish more can be a bad thing, and how wanting to serve God can be a bad thing.

I originally wanted to title this post Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Trying to Steward Your Time Well as an Act of Worship Can Be a Bad Thing. But I didn’t want to end out this series with such a bummer of a headline.
I also toyed with another headline: Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Can We Do Anything Good? – and I’d like to start this post by asking that question.

How can we do anything good?
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Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Serve God Can Be a Bad Thing

This is part four of the five-part series: Don’t Deny the Gospel.

You’ve read about how we don’t want to look to time management to give us peace. And you know that money and accomplishments aren’t where we find contentment.

But now there’s a bigger trap waiting ahead.

Many Christians want to learn how to effectively manage their time so that they may be good stewards of the resources (time in this case) that God has given them. They want to please Him with their usage of time and serve Him out of a sense of gratitude.

We have reasons to be grateful. More than we can count.
The fact that we can walk, talk, and think. The fact that our hearts are beating. The fact that we have a roof over our head and food to eat.
The fact that we have a good God who loves us, who hears our prayers, and who speaks to us. The fact that He died for our sins so that we may spend eternity with Him in heaven.

Gratitude is, after all, a great thing. It’s certainly a wonderful attitude that we should cultivate.
But gratitude can often hide something that’s not wonderful – an incorrect and distorted view of the gospel.
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Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Accomplish More Can Be a Bad Thing

This is part three of the five-part series: Don’t Deny the Gospel.

Accomplishing more. That’s the primary theme running through just about every time management book ever written.

We pick up that book or read that website on productivity because somewhere deep inside we believe that it can help us do more. And we want so much to do more.
Earn more money. Relax more. Have more fun. Achieve more. Make your dreams a reality. Fulfill God’s purpose for your life.

But if we’re looking for fulfillment in what we do – instead of who we are in Christ – we are looking in the wrong place.
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Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Wanting to Reduce Stress Can Be a Bad Thing

This is part two of the five-part series: Don’t Deny the Gospel.

Are you looking for relief from the stress of busyness?

Busyness can absolutely fry our minds, wear out our bodies, and damage our relationships. The allure of time management is that, through living a balanced life, we can find peace and serenity.

But that allure is a lie.
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Don’t Deny the Gospel: How Learning Time Management Can Be a Bad Thing

We get it wrong so often. I get it wrong so often.

As Christians, we lift up the gospel of Jesus Christ as the foundation that we build our lives upon. We sing hymns, we read books, and we witness to others.

Then we start reading a blog about time management and unwittingly throw the gospel right out the window.
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Why You Secretly Love Being Way, Way, Way Too Busy

Think for a minute about this question: Would you say that you’re a busy person?

Let me guess: you only needed to think for half a second – and the answer is a definitive yes. I know that because everyone answers yes.
Seriously. Everyone.

Why is that the case?

The reasons are many, but I want to address a hidden and particularly nasty reason.
In a nutshell, I believe we like to be overly busy. We enjoy having way too much to do.
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How to Bring Sanity to Your Priorities

It seems sometimes like it’s just too much to juggle. How are you supposed to fit it all in?

You definitely want to spend quality time with your spouse. Your kids too. Family is a priority. You want to glorify God through your job, to provide for your family, and to work “as unto the Lord,” so your career is a priority.

You want to attend church, and perhaps you serve in a ministry in or outside of the church. That’s a priority. And, of course, don’t forget your own personal devotional walk with the Lord – so your quiet time is a priority.

Plus you want to regularly fellowship and maintain great friendships and relationships with people. That’s a priority. Oh yeah – and you want to exercise and take care of your physical health. That’s a priority.

As if that isn’t enough, you’re very aware of the importance of rest and rejuvenation. So that’s a priority too.

I can’t even read that list without feeling tension – as if I am being pulled in a million different directions at once. So imagine the feeling when we try to live this way.
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Redeeming the Time: A Closer Look

If your pastor preaches a sermon on time stewardship, there’s one scripture passage you can pretty much guarantee is going to get mentioned: Ephesians 5:15-16. In fact, a phrase from that passage, redeeming the time, is a church buzz-phrase that’s mentioned probably more than the term time stewardship itself.

And for good reason!
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Busyness Leads to Hypocrisy: A Psychological Study

If you were a seminary student on your way to give a talk on the Parable of the Good Samaritan, and you happened to walk right by someone in obvious pain groaning in an alley – what do you think you’d do?

I mean, think about it. You are walking a short distance, surely thinking the whole way about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to share insight on the Parable of the Good Samaritan. You’re then presented with a situation that’s practically straight out of the parable – don’t you think a little voice inside your head would chime in, “Hey, genius! Maybe you should practice what you preach”?

I’d like to think I’d stop and offer help, but part of me doubts I would. Because in a 1973 psychological experiment seminary students were put in that exact situation, and the results are surprising (and slightly disappointing).
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The Dark Side of Delegation

Delegation is just common sense. It’s no surprise that it’s a common thread running through every time management strategy and system out there.
My time is limited, so of course I want to pack it full of high value tasks. Of course I want to work on tasks that only I can do and tasks that require my unique strengths.

But after making an effort to delegate as much as feasible, I began to see an unpleasant attitude developing in my heart. It stopped being about pursuing effectiveness and started being about my pride.
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