Our Time is Not Our Own: A Faithful Approach to Work-Life Balance

For most people, the concept of time is often stressful. It's a refrain we've all heard, one we've likely repeated ourselves — "I don't have time." This proclamation has become a modern mantra, an admission of busyness that seems to serve as both a badge of honor and an apology. But amidst this scarcity of time, have we forgotten who the ultimate owner of our time truly is? Scripture beckons us to explore time as a resource we ought to steward with wisdom and faith, particularly in the sphere where we spend the majority of our waking hours — our work.

For believers, time management isn't just about productivity or efficiency, it’s a spiritual discipline that reflects our trust in God’s sovereign plan and our willingness to align our daily activities with His will. So how can faith-based professionals and Christian business owners integrate this profound understanding of time into their work and inspire others to do the same?

The Illusion of Busyness

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens." - Ecclesiastes 3:1

Our first challenge is cutting through the illusion of busyness to discern the true source of our hectic schedules. Ecclesiastes 3:1 reminds us that even in our hurried world, there exists a divine order. Too often, we mistake the many "good" things that fill our time for the God-ordained best. Indeed, busyness can serve as a potent distraction, not just from leisure, but from prayer, from meaningful relationships, and from deeper fellowship with God.

How do we combat this illusion? It begins with cultivating a heart of discernment. We must learn to first seek God’s will and then recognize it among the many demands that life throws at us. This might mean learning to say no, even to opportunities that seem beneficial but may not be part of our God-given purpose. It involves regular reflection on our commitments and motivations, ensuring that our time truly aligns with what God values.

Stewarding Time with Faith

"Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." - Psalm 90:12

To steward our time with faith in the workplace is to invite the Holy Spirit into our daily planning. The Psalmist compels us to see each day as a gift and every hour as an opportunity to grow in wisdom, which only comes from God.

Christians in the workplace can begin this stewardship with a practice as simple as beginning each workday by placing it in God’s hands in prayer. This act serves as a deliberate acknowledgment that our time is a trust given to us by God. It can also look like setting clear boundaries on our work, endeavoring to have a day of rest, and intentionally blocking out time for spiritual activities. These acts of intentionality foster a work environment that not only sustains us physically and mentally but spiritually as well.

Additionally, intentional time management can manifest in the form of "time tithing." Just as we tithe our income as a symbol of our commitment and trust in God, we can allocate a percentage of our work hours to volunteerism, community service, and simply investing in our employees. This gesture not only benefits our communities but attunes our minds to the eternal, reminding us that our work is but one expression of our call to love and serve others.

Inspiring a Faithful Approach

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?...You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden...let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." - Matthew 5:13-16

Inspiring others to adopt a similar approach to time and faith in the workplace is a natural outgrowth of our own practice. Jesus models this inspiration when He calls us to be the "light of the world" and "the salt of the earth.” Our approach to time and work can act as a beacon to others, demonstrating that a different way is not only possible but preferable. We can inspire peers by exemplifying a calm presence in the midst of chaos, by taking time to listen and counsel, and by upholding ethical practices, even when they're not the most convenient.

Christian business owners, in particular, hold a unique platform to inspire a faithful approach to time. By infusing workplace policy with principles that reflect the value of time as a God-given gift, they can create environments that motivate and uplift. This may include ensuring fair and just work hours, fostering an atmosphere of trust and support, and providing opportunities for spiritual growth through corporate prayer, Bible study, or voluntary service projects. A workplace culture that prioritizes time according to divine principles isn't just beneficial for the individual; it's an asset to the entire company, creating a space where employees can flourish holistically.

Time is a resource we often take for granted. However, when we approach it with the awareness and faith it deserves, it becomes a powerful tool for transformation both in our own lives and in the lives of those around us. By integrating a biblical understanding of time into our professional lives, we can create a workspace that is not just productive but deeply meaningful and in harmony with God's purpose. Take some time to reflect on how you can better steward your time in the workplace. Remember, our time is not our own. It's a gift from God, and how we use it reflects our hearts and our faith.

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  • “Don’t withhold good from someone who deserves it when it is in your power to do so.”
    Proverbs 3:27

  • “Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”
    Philippians 2:4