I don’t even know you, but I know something about you: you’re too busy.
In fact, there are hundreds upon hundreds of books, articles, and resources to help you manage your time better. And they’re all based on one simple idea:
You’re too busy.
Granted, some of this time-management stuff is hokey. But a lot of it is good and true and needed. And even more important than managing our time is understanding the reason why we should. The reason is found in one simple verse in Psalm 90:
“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” (Psalm 90:12)
Written by Moses himself, this Psalm shows us that scarcity as a principle was understood more than 3,500 years ago. Moses didn’t have an iPhone or a Honda, but he did have a grasp on a truth we sometimes miss:
Wisdom comes from counting our resources,
and then making them count.
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Apparently Moses believed that you can’t be wise until you learn that all of your resources are finite. To put it another way, if we act like time isn’t precious, money is endless, and every commitment is necessary, we’ll never be wise. When we learn to count things, we start making them count.
Moses asked God to teach this truth to us, meaning it’s not something we do naturally. Even though it’s not earth-shattering news, it is information we need to be reminded of. Often. No matter how smart our phones are, most of us will forget how scarce our resources really are.
The wisdom of scarcity can be seen in at least three areas:
If you see someone who makes horrible financial choices, you know they’re likely living without a budget. Because a budget is literally you counting your money so you can make every dollar count. We should all ask ourselves what kind of financial story we want to tell in 5 years or 15 years or 50 years. But we won’t get there unless we have a strategic plan that treats each dollar as precious, because it is.
Whether you call it focus or bandwidth or something else, the truth is that you don’t get to commit to everything that comes along. Wisdom teaches us that our strongest loyalty should be based on our highest beliefs. Because we don’t choose whether or not we will sacrifice something, instead we choose who and what we will sacrifice. We should save the best of us for those things that we know are the most important in life. There isn’t enough of our attention to go around, so let’s learn to cheat toward our priorities & strengths.
My mom died last year, which was shocking. Until I remembered that everyone dies. If the Lord does not speedily appear, you and I will go the way of all humanity. That fact is inevitable and undeniable, yet somehow still forgettable. This makes time your most precious resource, by far.
My friend told me recently that he put 1,300 marbles in a jar, representing the number of Saturdays he likely has left to live. And every Saturday he pulls another marble out of the jar and asks himself how he has spent the past week. Morbid? No, he’s just practicing the wisdom of Moses.
And that’s what I want for you: to be wise like Moses. He probably couldn’t set up a wireless router or text a friend. But he would understand what’s important, even today: wisdom comes from counting our resources, and then making them count.
Are we counting?
Timm Collins spent 11 years as pastor of Ridgepoint Church in Winter Haven, Florida and is currently Chief Operating Officer for Trash Mountain Project. He spends time developing the TMP staff and working with pastors in international trash dump communities to grow churches and make disciples. He also consults with businesses and organizations to help them reduce conflict and increase productivity. Timm is married to Miranda and they have 2 sons, Noah and Levi.
You can contact Timm at email@example.com