When it comes to getting things done, my son can be slow at times. I’ve tried hurrying him up by using words, clapping, and singing. Sometimes they work, but usually it’s only for a short time. Ive learned to use a timer with him. When he sees the clock and how much time he has left, he focuses and gets the job done. All of a sudden, he gets an urgency to make things happen. By the way, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I often need something like that to give me an urgency to get things done.
My middle initial is “P”. When people ask what it stands for, my go to response is, “Procrastinator”. If something isn’t urgent and important to me, it can fall into my “I’ll get it done later” list. That just means I’ll keep putting it off until it becomes urgent and important. That’s not the best way to do things though. If we constantly focus only on what’s urgent and important, we are failing to live our lives with intentionality. We do need an urgency to get things done, but if we are intentional about doing the right things, our lives won’t be a constant fire drill.
The writer of Psalm 90:12 wrote a prayer to God that says, “Teach us to realize the brevity of life, so that we may grow in wisdom” (NLT). He was praying, “God, give me a timer to help me get things done. Help me to grow in wisdom so I can be intentional about getting the right things done.” He was probably a lot like many of us who struggles with procrastination and focusing on what’s important. He wanted God to remind him how short life is and to help him grow in wisdom so he could be intentional.
What is it that we pray for? Is it more time to get things done? We could be praying for wisdom to get the right things done on time. God doesn’t need us to be in a constant fire drill. That only burns people out and doesn’t guarantee that the right things get done. He wants us to have wisdom so we can be urgent about the things that matter. If you’ve been praying the first prayer above, let me encourage you to change that prayer. Ask God for wisdom and to help you live intentionally. Watch what a difference that makes in your life.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.
We recently cleaned out our garage. I threw a lot of things away that I had held onto for years. I kept thinking, “At some point, I valued these things enough to spend money on them. Then later, I valued them enough to store them.” The next week, my mother in law did the same thing. I helped her throw away a couple of truck loads. On the road, she said, “It’s better for me to do this now. I don’t want my kids having to go through all this one day when I die.” We spend a lifetime working so we can buy things, most of which devalue over time. Then what? Someone has to go through them and determine whether to keep them, donate them or throw them away. Did what we mattered to us in this lifetime matter for eternity?
The psalmist who wrote Psalm 39 started thinking about the end of their life. In verse 6, they wrote, “We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth, not knowing who will spend it” (NLT). They stated wondering if what they had been pursuing had been worth it. If you back up a couple of verses, they prayed, “Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered— how fleeting my life is.” What a great prayer. We forget that this life isn’t all there is. We spend so much time in this life preparing for it, trying to live well and live as comfortably as possible that we forget to think about eternity. It’s like the couple getting married spending all their time preparing for a wedding when they should be preparing for a marriage.
What are you preparing for in this life? Are you keeping eternity in focus? I admit that it’s hard to do. The pressures of this life are so real and present that I spend a lot of time thinking about them. It was the daily pressures that got this psalmist to turn their attention to eternity though. Are we allowing the pressures of the temporary things to take our mind off of the eternal? Are we spending too much time and money on things that others will throw away or donate? I used to have a small poem up that said, “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last.” It was my daily reminder to pursue the eternal things and to not get so caught up in the affairs of this life that I fail to prepare for the next. Where is your focus today? What’s distracting you from looking at eternity? It’s good to ask God to remind you how brief this life is.