Give Time If You Want To Get Time

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”—Luke 6:38 (NIV)

As we’ve established so far this week, time is a valuable commodity. Greek philosopher Theophrastus wrote, “Time is the most valuable thing a man can spend.” But here is something to consider that we often overlook: If time is valuable to us, then it’s equally valuable to everyone else. Your time is extremely valuable to you; in the same way, your neighbor’s time is extremely valuable to them, as is your coworker’s time, your friends’ time, your family’s time, and everyone in between.

Part of being generous with our relationships is giving people our time. Yesterday, we talked about the importance of spending time with the Lord, of intentionally prioritizing our relationship with Him. But what about the people He’s placed in your life? As you have gone through the process of evaluating the way you spend your time, how much space have you made for relationships? How much margin did you give yourself to have quality time with your loved ones?

If you’re married, does your schedule contain any intentional date nights, coffee breaks, movie nights, or catch-up sessions? If you have kids, does your calendar contain any significant time for fun with your kids, hide-and-go-seek or freeze tag breaks, game nights, homework sessions, family dinner time, family prayer and devotional time, or outings to the park or mall? Does it include blocking out time for their games, recitals, plays, concerts, or competitions? What about time with your parents or siblings? Friends? A small group, mentor, or any discipleship relationships? Are you giving the people in your life the time of day?

If a true time investment isn’t being made into these important relationships, your relationships may go the way of the wicked servant in the Parable of the Talents. How so? We cannot expect to receive time from people if we’re not giving time to them. When it comes to our relationships, if we’re not investing in them, we will likely never experience the great benefit of them. We will miss out on one of the things God created us for: deep, meaningful relationships.

You see, you can determine what you value by what you spend your time on (Matthew 6:21). So, are you showing the people in your life how much you value them? Or are you simply telling them that you value them without actually showing them? Remember, actions speak louder than words, and the people in our lives notice when they are not a priority. The time we waste not prioritizing them can’t be recovered. Lost time is gone forever. It can’t be recovered.

There really are no excuses, rationalization, or justification for this. In the end, everything else will fade away. Don’t put all your value in earthly, temporal things. You will regret it. Instead, invest in people. Be generous with your time as it pertains to your important relationships. Otherwise, don’t be surprised when your kids don’t give you the time of day when they’re older. Don’t be surprised when friendships dissolve, or your spouse begins to resent you due to feelings of rejection and neglect.

Heed these words of wisdom from Proverbs 20:4 (NASB): “The sluggard does not plow after the autumn, so he begs during the harvest and has nothing.” Plow now before the autumn; de-clutter your calendar to make time for people before it’s too late.

Take another look at your time management worksheet today. Consider how you can be more generous with your time and make more space for relationships.