We often evaluate our discretionary income to see if it is being
wasted or put to good use. We should do the same with our time.
Everyone I know has discretionary time. Some spend some of their
discretionary time drinking coffee, becoming intoxicated, smoking,
playing with children, playing with pets, watching TV, listening
to music, reading books, vacationing, playing sports, studying God's
word, praying, fellowshipping with other Christians, or assembling
with the saints to name a few.
The point is that we all, except in extreme circumstances, have
discretionary time that is spent doing something other than providing
the absolute necessities of life. Even those in war, famine, and
floods have discretionary time with which they do something of their
choosing other than providing necessities of life. And, not to say
that in all circumstances life is the best, we always make decisions
regarding the spending of time. If we say we have "no time"
we are the most pitiable of planners lacking self evaluation and
forethought - at least this person should say: "I waste my
time." And, why is it that people who "have no time"
always have time to tell someone about how much time they do not
From my perspective, except in extreme circumstances, I deny that
a person does not have discretionary time. We may use all of our
discretionary time to make more money than is absolutely needed
to live and therefore spend our discretionary time seeking worldly
wealth, but the fact remains that we had the time. We make choices
in life as to how much time to spend in accumulating wealth and
how much time to spend with God. We must balance time and wealth
with all of our responsibilities. One of our responsibilities is
to spend time with God.
How much time do you spend with God during an average week? If
you spend all your discretionary time without including time with
God, are you seeking first the kingdom of heaven? Jesus teaches
that we cannot serve God and the world (mammon) - we must serve
one or the other. In Matthew 6:24, 33 Jesus says: "No one can
serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the
other, or else he will he loyal to the one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon. ... But seek first the kingdom
of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added
to you." And for those who seek the kingdom of God first He
says: "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow
will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own
trouble." (Matt. 6:34)
Take a minute and figure up how much time you spend with God in
an average week either in private, in Bible study, or gathered with
the saints. Now calculate how much discretionary time you have in
an average week. A person who works sixty hours a week, sleeps 57
hours a week, and spends 25 hours a week to accomplish chores and
other necessary tasks, has 26 hours of discretionary time per week.
This person has 26 hours to waste, watch TV, spend on hobbies, etc.
How much discretionary time do you have in an average week and what
are you doing with it?
Now list all the activities which take up your discretionary time.
Is any one of your discretionary activities more important than
spending time with God? Can one of your discretionary activities
save the soul? What do you think - If a person spends only 1% or
2% of their discretionary time with God, what does that say to God?
If a person goes on vacation for two weeks every year (224 hours
of discretionary time) but only spends 52 hours a year or perhaps
156 hours a year with God, what does that say to God?
I am not advocating that all discretionary time should be spent
in a formal fashion with God. It is God who has given us all things
to enjoy (I Tim. 6:17). But to be extreme and spend little or no
time with God is to neglect our responsibilities toward God. With
this in mind, what statements are you making by the way you spend
your time - is God important? If you answered yes, your life must
be rich in the pleasures of heaven - you have set your mind on things
above, not on the earth (Col. 3:2). In my next article, Lord willing,
we will study ways to spend time with God.