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"Folly delights a man who lacks judgment, but a man of understanding keeps a straight course" (Prov. 15:21).

Have you ever wished you had extra hours in your day or extra days in your week just to get everything done you need done? I think most of us have had this thought from time to time. Maybe some of us have this thought too often.

We may occasionally wish it but it's not going to happen. Instead, we better learn to effectively manage what we have so that we can enjoy what God has given us to do.

Over the years, I have been taught and have learned that time management is something that is critical in order to live a successful life. It's tough, because people always try to draw you into more activities than you have time for.

The demands that come, some self-inflicted, can easily create anxiety and a frenzy within us.

The lawn needs mowing; there is a wedding to go to; a baby shower you should show up at; there's a business project that needs attention; and then there's that floor in that front entryway that you have been thinking about replacing for over two years….

Too much time has gone by since you last visited your parents and you haven't called your siblings in so long you are afraid they will disown you. You'll be embarrassed if you don't send out that birthday card that is already late.

Melissa has a soccer game and Johnny has a baseball game and they both want you to come and watch. You should go out with your spouse for something special since it is your anniversary this weekend.

There's a special speaker at church that you want to hear and you have to serve this weekend on your ministry team. Washing clothes is not an option if you want to wear clothes to work on Monday. And, if you don't make it to the grocery store, well, what the heck - who needs to eat anyway?

Even after all this, people still draw themselves into more, pushing themselves for a variety of reasons that all seem important. For that reason, at least twice a year I have to sit down and look at my life and all that I'm doing, and compare what is making demands on my life against my set-in-stone priority guideline list.

My Priority List
In this order I view what needs to be done with the priorities that keep my life on a straight and orderly path. My set-in-stone priority guideline list says this:
  1. Time with the Lord - Intimate and quiet reading and praying - religious activity is not a substitute!
  2. Time with my wife - communicating and enjoying - critical to a good and happy marriage.
  3. Time with my children - God continually talks about caring for the fatherless. He doesn't want our own children without the love, nurturing and affection of parents (or a parent if that is your situation).
  4. Ministry Service - finding a committed and regular time where you give of your gifts, talents, skills, and money to the Lord. Everything good you have in life is from Him. The local church is a tool in the earth that Jesus is the Head of to minister to all His children. God uses serving to draw out undiscovered gifts given to you by Him. If you put this priority after your livelihood, Satan will see to it you never have time to do it.
  5. Your Livelihood - Give your employer your best, but at the same time, reasonable effort. (Your priorities are not going to be his. He'd love for you to dedicate your entire life to his cause.) Give him a great and faithful effort while asking him/her to respect your time. A good boss or company will. Otherwise, it might be good to look around because life won't be happy there anyway.
  6. Social - the expression "get a life" is a good one. Godly relationships with other people that you can enjoy in the Lord and just have fun and laugh with are a critical and needed element of life. It should fall in its place of priority but not be neglected.
You will find that when you examine all that you should or supposedly have to do against your priority list - keeping them in balance and in priority order, then some of what you have to do will fall to the bottom of the list.

Most people who work their highest priorities usually get done what really needs to be done. The things at the bottom of the priority list that get missed usually affect little over the long haul.

By watching and managing your priorities, you learn how to say "no." You can't do everything, so decide what you feel you can and must do that keeps your priorities in order.

None of us can afford to let other people drive our priorities or make us feel guilty for what we can't do.

The opening scripture says that folly delights a man who lacks judgment. The devil loves when we over-commit ourselves. We'll then break commitments, we'll lie, we'll fail, we'll feel guilty and he'll beats us up for each of those.

This particular verse continues to say that a man of understanding keeps a straight course. When you understand you have limitations and you keep your priorities, then good judgment and a straight course will be your blessing.

When your time with the Lord is at the top of all those, then you will have the added blessing of His Holy Spirit helping you within. You'll be blessed!

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven" (Eccl. 3:1).

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All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Author Biography

Tim Burt
Web site: Todays Fresh Manna
Timothy Burt is a pastor, author, and writer. He is best known as the author of Fresh Manna, a daily devotional and online Bible study.

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