Time and Money

By Linda Tancs

A long-professed proverb of sorts is “time is money,” commonly used to indicate that the less time you waste, the more you’ll get done and the more money you’ll make. But like so many oft-used expressions, there’s plenty of meaning behind the meaning. Time is, indeed, currency. Even the poet Carl Sandburg called time “the coin of your life.” Like money, we spend time. And, like money, once we spend time, it’s gone. Sometimes we have more of it and sometimes we have less. We take time for ourselves and give it to others. Whereas money managers tell us how to make the best use of our money, the Bible exhorts us to make the best use of our time (Ephesians 5:16). As the apostle James reminds us, sometimes we plot and plan our time around making money, failing to realize that our times are ultimately in His hands (James 4:13-15).

How do you spend your time?

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

 

Busyness or Business?

By Linda Tancs

How often have you heard, or said, “I’m so busy.” What is busyness? Sometimes, it’s action for the sake of action (“busy work”), something to do to fill the void. Other times it’s something necessary and purposeful, like washing the dishes or preparing a meal. Business, on the other hand, often implies a purposeful activity, something with real consequence attached, like personal or professional growth, income or reputation.

The difference between busyness and business is found in Luke’s telling of Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). When Jesus visited their home, Martha was too busy attending to household tasks to enjoy Jesus’ company like Mary did. Martha even asked Jesus to chastise Mary for not helping with the hostess duties! Instead, He chastised Martha. Why? Because despite Martha’s seemingly hard work, Mary was the one who was truly productive. She got down to business, so to speak, in the Word of God. She took advantage of the opportunity for personal growth and understanding by learning at Jesus’ feet. She seized the day.

Sometimes the distinction between busyness and business comes down to a state of “being” (like Mary) or “doing” (like Martha). We all need to be doers in some respect, but don’t neglect being in relationship with Christ. When you’re lost in a maze of duties, lay down the distractions and put on His mind (Hebrews 12:2).

A popular poem called The Dash by Linda Ellis reminds us that all that separates birth and death is a dash (–). What does that dash represent for you? Busyness or business?

Just for Today

By Linda Tancs

For tomorrow I cannot pray. Cover me with thy shadow just for today.—St. Therese of Lisieux

There is a Dear Abby column that has often inaugurated each new year called Just For Today. It’s a list of things you can try to do, even if it’s just for today: things like being optimistic, living in the moment, taking care of your health, taking action, being agreeable, being happy and improving your mind. Try it. Start your own list of affirmations, beginning each one with “just for today.”

That column is the perfect reminder that it’s the moment that counts, just as the Bible instructs. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble (Matthew 6:34). Who knows what tomorrow will bring (James 4:14)? Jesus taught His followers to ask for their “daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). It’s a matter of trusting Him, one day at a time.

If you focus on today, then before you know it, you’ll have many todays behind you and be well on your way to developing better habits, but you need to look at what is—and move from there. As one of my favorite sayings goes, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift—that’s why we call it ‘the present’.”

Rest is Not Idleness

By Linda Tancs

As you run about your day like the Energizer Bunny on steroids trying to juggle life and work, remember that the human body is not designed to run 24/7. It’s essential to have balance in work and life, which is all the more trying these days—especially for employees who are so often asked to do more with less. And add to that the vague notion that rest is idleness and you end up with needless stress and anxiety.

What does the Bible say about rest? You don’t have to read far to get an answer. God established the principle by resting on the seventh day following creation (Genesis 2:2). Exodus 33:14 reminds us that when we place our trust in God, He will give us rest. Jesus reminded his followers of the same thing in Matthew 11:28. Why is rest such an important biblical concept? Because it engenders faith, which allows us room to focus on aligning ourselves with God’s mission for our lives. And that creates peace.

Rest is a biblical weapon to combat stress and anxiety. So how do you incorporate a sense of balance? First, you need to determine the value you place on every aspect of your life: work, emotional growth, friends, family, hobbies, health and fitness, finances, intellectual growth, spirituality and so on. Rate each aspect on a scale from 1 to 10 (10 being the highest value). A sense of imbalance often evolves from a feeling that one’s values are out of sync with daily living. How much do you incorporate your highest rated value(s) into the life you’re living? Next, determine the resources you need to close the gap between your highest values ratings and the space that any such activity actually occupies in your life. Are you lacking a “team” resource—a supportive partner, an extra hand at work, an au pair, a counselor, etc.? Or perhaps you need more material resources like a daily planner, better technology, or training materials, to name a few. Once you’ve determined the resources you need, sit down and write out an action plan to optimize those resources. List each resource and your goal with respect to acquiring or optimizing it. Determine a realistic timeline for each goal. Finally, consider how you’ll know whether the goal has been achieved. What will success look like? Revisit your plan often to gauge how your values jibe with your current life circumstances.