“The year is made up of minutes. Let these be watched as having been dedicated to God! It is in the sanctification of the small that the hallowing of the large is secure.”—G. CAMPBELL MORGAN

When most people think of time, they think of hours or minutes or the time that it takes to go from point A to point B. However, time from God’s point of view is related to the opportunities He gives a believer to accomplish His will and experience His power. Because of evil days, Ephesians 5:15-16 says our perspective in regards to time should be to make the most of it. According to verse 17, a key element in making the most of our time is understanding the will of the Lord. In other words, when we know what God wants us to do, we should prioritize our lives so that we might accomplish all that God has for us.

From a biblical point of view, to put God first does not mean that there is something else second, third, and so on. Putting God first means He is preeminent in every area of your life. However, if you need help in ordering your priorities, here are the Christian’s top five priorities:

  1. God (Matthew 22:36-38; Ecclesiastes 12:13)—This does not mean just feeling deeply about the Lord, but doing those things that demonstrate your desire to grow in your relationship with Him: spending time with Him, sacrifice, obedience, etc.
  2. Your Body (1 Corinthians 6:12-13, 18-20; 1 Timothy 4:8)—What we mean here is not an over-emphasis on fitness and fashion, but a proper maintenance of God’s temple so that He is pleased and you can continue to honor Him and help others.
  3. Your Family (Ephesians 5:22-6:4)—God created marriage and family to be the foundation of home life and social order. Society and the church stand or fall on the health of the family.
  4. Ministry (Romans 12:3-13)—In your relationship with God, the emphasis is on what you are to Him and what He is in you. In your ministry, the emphasis is on what you do for Him and for others.
  5. Others (Galatians 6:9-10)“Our greatest danger in life is in permitting the urgent things to crowd out the important.”—Charles Hummel

In your relationship with God:

  1. Spend time in prayer and devotion every day.
  2. Plan your life around the things that will keep God first in your life.
  3. Don’t forsake church attendance and fellowship.

In the home:

  1. Remember that it’s not a matter of perfect balance, but recognizing when you go too far to the left or to the right and getting back quickly before you fall.
  2. Build this time into your schedule. Schedule a day on your calendar for your spouse and kids.
  3. Ministry and home priorities can go together. Doing ministry together as a family will help build memories and set an example for your children.

“There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.”―Ecclesiastes 3:1


Leisure and Faith

Leisure mingled with faith became a reality for me in 1989 on the paradise Island of Maui where I lived for seven years. It was there and then that the biblical perspective of leisure became evident to me, and the true concept of work, leisure, faith, peace, and contentment made sense from the lens of Scripture.

After God completed the creative work of the heavens, the earth, and all the host of them, He rested on the seventh day. Amazingly, that man was created on the sixth day seems like God chose to rest after His masterpiece was created. “God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27).

God’s work of creation was ex-nihilo, an absolute creation out of nothing. God’s creative act involved no preexisting material except the creation of man who was formed from the dust of the earth. His was the work of Omnipotence; however, He rested after blessing His creative work, and He rendered it very good.

Leisure, repose, rest—this was introduced to the creation order by God Himself, who experienced no drudgery, grind, or labor. His was the work of faith in Himself.

On the other hand, man was assigned the grinding task of tilling the soil after his rebellion, so labor was to be the means by which man would acquire sustenance. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat bread, until you return to the ground, because from it you were taken; for you are dust, and to dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

Man is on a pilgrimage from dust to dust, and in the case of the believer in the atoning work of Christ, his pilgrimage is from dust to dust to glory according to our Creator (Daniel 12:2-3). Because we believe Him, leisure and faith are compatible just as labor and rest are necessary.

The ground from which man was formed, and that which will yield man’s bread from hard labor, was also given a year’s rest. Man was created on the sixth day, and now God commands: “Six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its crop, but during the seventh year the land shall have a Sabbath rest to the Lord; you shall not sow your field nor prune your vineyard. Your harvest’s after growth you shall not reap, and your grapes of untrimmed vines you shall not gather; the land shall have a Sabbatical year” (Leviticus 25:3-4).

For the farmer to profit from God’s counsel to give the land a year of rest, he must believe God’s Word to him or unite the word with faith.

As the Good Shepherd of His “sheep,” Jesus providentially causes His sheep to want for nothing but His guiding staff and protecting rod.

He makes them to lie down in green pastures; He leads them beside quiet waters. For the purpose of their soul’s restoration He guide them in the paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.

Even in leisure, I have come to understand that the sheep of the Shepherd, of which I am one, must trust the Shepherd of my soul. Leisure times are a gift from the God who started the trend because He is gracious to all, the just and the unjust, the righteous and the unrighteous.

Leisure and faith when united will produce a peace that transcends comprehension because from God’s vantage point, leisure for the believer is an act faith.

Leisure and Recreation in the Family

Time spent creating memories with family is priceless. Those pictures and stories provide feelings of a tender sweetness and laughter for years. As our loved ones are taken away, tales of those moments become a source of solace and salve for a hurting heart. Our fondest memories tend to be forged when we are simply relaxing and/or sharing in some sort of fun activity. Leisure and recreation are necessary components of family time.

God Himself established a pattern of rest after speaking the world into creation (Genesis 2:1-2). He declared that all the work that He had done was “very good” and then He took some time to rest. When he sent Moses down to the people with the law, He reminded families to labor six days, but to keep the Sabbath hallow (Exodus 20:8-11).

Modern culture has evolved to include times for recreational activities. We can do a wide variety of things together indoors or out, local or abroad. God’s provision and grace allow for these “down” times and we can still honor Him by taking advantage of them (Colossians 3:17; James 1:17). Discipline and obedience guard us against exercising liberties that can lead to sin or those that can be viewed as stumbling blocks to the weak. We are checking out from work, not worship…worship is continuous.

Take time to renew your perspective and to refresh. Family members need time to take a break from the demands and struggles of their personal worlds. Cherish the time spent together and create positive memories.

Summer Fun

“Do you guys have any vacation plans for the summer?” It’s a question we all hear often during this time of year. Somehow summertime brings with it the expectation of family leisure and fun. In a sense, it rightly should be that kind of time—the kids are out of school, so there is a lot more focused time to be spent engaging the family. However, part of the mentality with summer vacation and leisure is that these times need to be big, extravagant, and memorable (read: cost a lot of money).

The world places upon us the expectation for extravagant vacations, and oftentimes we feed into that, regardless of what our bank account would warrant. However, memorable family fun does not need to drive us into debt. In fact, I think most kids would be happy just with time spent fully engaged with their parents. When I asked my daughter what she wanted to do this summer, her answer to me was: go swimming. That’s it. She wants to swim. So, for me to make this summer everything she hopes for, it simply means I need to put down my phone, shut off the computer, and get in the pool with her. Simple.

This does not mean every family should just swim and not travel. Sometimes we have it in our budget to plan a large scale vacation, and that’s ok. It just need not be something we pressure ourselves or our families to achieve every year. When our kids look back on their childhoods, they will for sure remember those grandiose family vacations. But what they will remember even more is you. They will remember the times you spent splashing the water around in the pool and being present. Those will be their treasured memories.