June 29, 2021

Give God first dibs to your time. If you don't,

someone else will claim your time from you.

Toby Lofton


Here is how to give God first dibs:

Step 1: Use a planner.

Using a planner helps you take control of your time.  A planner is not a place to write down meetings and events as someone tells you about them. 

Many people fall for this trap. Their planner only serves as a meeting reminder. Their planner reminds them they don't own their time. They have yet to learn how to use a planner.

Planners are not note keepers. Planners are planners. Planners are what you use to plan your time. 

Step 2: Sit down with your planner a few days prior to the end of the month.

Look at the next months calendar. You only have so many days in a month. Tell yourself, "This month I am going to control my time rather than allow others to control it for me." We will talk about work in Step 4.

Step 3: See your days as God's gift to you.

These are your days. They were given to you by God. 

Sure, we do not know if we have tomorrow. But if we don't plan on having tomorrow, when tomorrow comes someone else will take our days from us. Scripture also teaches us to lay our plans before the Lord. Let you plan include the next 30 days. 

Step 4: Choose how you want to use the days given you by God.

Scriptures teaches us that all of life is about glorifying God. So regardless of how you choose to use your days ensure they bring glory to God. 

Work is part of life for many people. Your work is glorifying God also. Through your work you care for your family. Your work enables you to give to others. Your work most likely provides a service to others. Work is part of it. So as you choose how you want to use your days, you must include work. 

Step 5: Put dates devoted to God on your calendar first.

Whatever day your faith community meets for worship, write those down first. If you are part of a discipleship group, write that down also. If you church is conducting an outreach event that month, write it down. You do not have to put every church event on your planner. The point is to choose now which ones you are going to do and put them on your calendar. 

Put work on your calendar. Put "uncontrollables" on there as well. Uncontrollables are those events that you can't control, like the kids sports event. Your going and you know you are going, so put it down. Medical appointments, while we can plan them, are another uncontrollable. Once we make an appointment, it is ours to keep. 

Step 6: Execute your plan.

Once you completed preparing your monthly plan. Take a moment and look at your schedule. Many people discover their schedule is full before the month ever starts. This discovery is a good thing. Seeing the monthly picture helps us realize we shouldn't say yes to every request we receive. This brings us to executing your plan. Execute the plan you have developed. Learn to say "no" to others when they call with a good idea about something to do, especially if their requests intrudes on your God time. 

When people do call, make a habit of checking your planner before answering. If they want to do something on the only day you don't have something on your calendar that week, consider saying "No."  Say "No" even if the request is another church or ministry event.

The point is to take control of the time God has given you. God has given that time to you for you to use to glorify him. 

Some suggestions on effective planning:

1. Plan worship first. Taking a trip or doing an event with your family and friends is fine once a month or so, especially if you only have the weekend off. The problem occurs when you are doing that every weekend and not spending any time in worship.

2. For daily planning, ensure you put your devotional time on your day just like every thing else. Keep it just like you would any other appointment. If you conduct your devotion in the morning, ensure you set your alarm appropriately. You devotion cannot be an "if I have time" event. 

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