Cattails, Rabbit Trails, and Thistlefish: Time Management and Ministry

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Time Management and Ministry

Last week I talked a bit about my excitement in being further involved in Young Life.. but there have been some challenges, too. The biggest one being my time.

Time is a tricky thing for me. I'm not good at managing it, and my priorities tend to get a little bit scrambled out of place (i.e., my room gets cleaned last, my bank account gets cleaned first). Anybody who knows me also would tell you that I have a hard time saying "no" to things. These days, though, most of these things have to do with ministry.
Here's what I mean: I'm finally in a place where a dream of mine - being regularly involved in high school ministry - is a reality. However, what happens in ministry? You're involved with people. What happens when you're involved with people? They have needs. Those needs demand time and attention. Time and attention I can be too willing to give.

Last week brought me to a breaking point because my whole morning was put on hold by a high school girl telling me about her college plans/family probs. I realized after that I sacrifice half of my day without making sure it was a sacrifice the Lord wanted me to make. I'm not called to be Him. And sometimes there will be needs that I won't fill because He will want to fill them on His own.

Norman Grubb wrote a book called Rees Howells: Intercessor, (an incredible book that I would recommend to anybody, especially those going into ministry). At one point, Grubb writes about Howells' struggles to know when God was asking him to give. The Lord had blessed Howells with the willing heart and the available finances to help those in need, but had to teach him that sometimes jumping in to help too quickly actually took away the Lord's opportunity to perform miracles in that person's life and grow their faith in a way that Rees Howells never could have caused.

I guess I'm learning the same thing with my time. Just as Rees Howells had to say, "Lord, this money is simply Yours that You've given me to take care of here. Tell me when to give, and when to not, because You know what brings You the most glory," I want the Lord to teach me to have that mindset with my time. A complete surrender that says, "Lord, this time isn't mine; it's a gift You've given me, to accomplish Your will. Give me clear direction on when to give it, and when to use it differently."

("Ministry" in the sense I am talking about, is used more in the context of Young Life or church ministry, or something like that... I do wholly believe that ministry goes beyond "churchy" or evangelistic things. Loving my family or the grocery-store cashier is just as much ministry. But mostly what I'm struggling with is how much time I do/don't invest in youth ministry).

Ministry is just like anything else that takes time, like blogging, or shopping, or Flappy Bird. It can take all your time. Ministry, I feel, can be even more dangerous though, because when you're pouring all time into ministry, it can be accompanied with self-righteousness or self-satisfaction. I don't want to ever feel like I'm "doing a good job" just because I spent 30 hours a week of ministry. I want to feel like I'm "doing a good job" because I'm giving exactly what He wants me to give - even if its two minutes.

This really doesn't have a point aside from letting ya'll in on what's on my heart lately. Hopefully it's something for you to think on;)
Have ya'll struggled with anything similar?


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