Time is not really something you can manage. What we can manage are our priorities within the time that we have been given. This is really about managing your “one thing” in life. The thing you are here for. Imagine if all you did in your day was the one thing that God has made you for. Finding and executing that relentlessly is what true time management is about. A multitude of books have been written on this subject. Most of them teach us how to be a fast moving generalist. Real time management is about how to be a content specialist. In learning about Jesus’ method of managing priorities we learn that time only means something to us in light of the fact that we have a job that only we can do. In this case, it was to raise Lazarus. For Jesus was the only one who could do it. Jesus had two basic time management principles.
Never let primary things wait on secondary things: Timing is so important Primary things are primary because of our purpose. Imagine doing only the things that you alone can do. These would all be primary things. A specialist, not a generalist.
Multiply yourself through others: Delegation Anything that can be done by someone else should be. Moses demonstrated that in his lesson on delegation in Exodus 18.
John 11:1-44 In these verses we are given a crisis which would normally incite us to urgent action. Jesus managed this situation because it was made for Him by His heavenly Father.
1. Jesus recognize the right application of who He was to the situation. John 11:11 Know who you are and what you were made for. Jesus understood the situation better than anyone else because he could think through all the possible outcomes in light of all His possible skills.
a. Jesus could easily have healed Lazarus. It was also possible that Lazarus would have been healed by a doctor or a family member that did the right things.
b. There was only one person that could raise him from the dead. Jesus had already healed several people.
c. This was important to Him and very touching. John 11:5, 33-35.
d. The situation included more than a usual amount of people being so close to the time and place of the Passover.
e. The fact that He was the right man for this job, and that He could handle any outcome because this was His specialty, made the time constraint meaningless. John 11:23
2. Jesus recognized the right time to act. Learn how to recognize those situations that were made for you by God, then make an assessment on the right time to act. This is about knowing the right time to act on the right task.
a. We have unfinished things everywhere because the urgent keeps us running.
b. Jesus was not positioned to handle the situation then and would have had to take a lesser result by healing him from a distance.
c. Jesus continued in the place and in the situation He was currently working on until it was complete before going to Bethany. Though these people were very close to Him, He did not change His plans.
i. To lose focus on what we are doing at the present, especially if it is a task designed for us, is to upset the divine timing of our lives.
ii. Delay was good for the situation. John 11:15 It allowed the situation to ripen or mature into exactly the point where Jesus would fulfill His role and accomplish His ends.
d. Urgency is a tyrant that demands we drop what we are doing and commence something else.
e. Thinking and doing things in the order of importance is the key. Important things are things that only you can do.
f. Those that asked Jesus to come were probably astonished that although He loved them and they had a friendship, Jesus seemed not to mind that their affliction increased while He finished His current task.
g. There are boundaries of the work day. John 11:9-10 There is never enough time to do everything, but always enough time to do the right things. Our lives were designed that way.
3. Right results and the greatest benefit. Jesus knew all along that this situation was fully in His control and that the benefits of Him executing this in person and at the right time would bring about exactly the right results.
a. Jesus moved closer to His goal in two ways.
i. He presented to them the resurrection and taught them the truth that death had no power over Him or them. John 11:45-46
ii. He moved the Pharisees to begin planning His capture and death which was very much a necessary part of the plan.
b. Jesus strengthened His disciples by showing them the resurrection.
c. They now know that it doesn’t matter if they die or not. The resurrection and the life is with them.
Summary: Time management is more about knowing your purpose and priorities than it is about cramming a bunch of stuff in one day. Becoming the specialist that God designed us to be not a generalist with a string of unsatisfying attempts at things. Organizing and executing around the priorities of your purpose, not selfishly, but because you know you were made for something and only you can play that role.