Let’s cut straight to the chase on this.

“I’d love to ________ (fill in the blank) but I just don’t have the time.”

This often comes in response to asking someone to commit to something; or challenging them to spend consistent time with God in scripture and prayer; or serve in some capacity where there’s a need that they could address.

I ask and then hear something along the lines of, “Dave, that sounds like something I could and should and maybe even want to do, but the fact of the matter is I am so busy just now and really don’t have the time. “

As kindly but truthfully as I can, let me say that this is a flat out lie. Every one of us has the same amount of time as every other person on the planet. We have the same 168 hours a week that we had from the day we were born. Time is almost never the issue. The real issue really is values and priorities.

Let’s take the idea of spending time alone with the Lord in scripture and prayer… taking time (making time) to feed ourselves from the living bread. The percentage of Christians who don’t spend daily time is extremely high; some have said 70-80%. Is it any wonder that so many Christians are weak and anemic? But when challenged even leaders will say, “God understands that I love him and I really would like to consistently spend time sitting at his feet like Mary and not be rushing around like Martha, but I just don’t have the time.” Tell your spouse, “Honey, you know that I love you and care about our relationship, but I’m just too busy and don’t have the time to spend with you.” Really?!

In essence, what we are saying is that spending time with Jesus is really not that important to us or we would make/take the time. Someone might protest that this is not so, but in fact it is so. Be honest with yourself. It somehow sounds easier to say I don’t have the time, rather than telling God that time spent with him is not important, or a high enough value for us. Let’s be done with saying “I don’t have time” and just tell the truth!

The same people who say they don’t have the time would suddenly have all the time in the world if they liked to fish and I invited them to meet me at 5a to head out for some fishing. The one who loved golf would be there with bells on at 6a if invited to join me in a foursome on one of the best courses in the area. “I thought you told me you didn’t have the time and were super busy when I asked you about __________;” well, it’s fishing or golf so I make the time. But you can’t, or won’t, make the time to meet with the God whom you state emphatically that you love. What’s wrong with this picture?  Keith Green (the late Christian singer) had a line in one of his songs: “You prefer the light of your TV you love the world and are ignoring me.”  O, yes, we all have time for our favorite TV programs, but can’t drag our bodies out of bed to spend time with the Creator of the universe who gave everything for us. Be honest. How many hours a week do you spend watching TV (and are then too tired to get up in the morning to hear from God?)

Let me give you a simple plan to use. I call it 5/15/5. Covenant with God to spend 15 minutes a day, five days a week, for 5 weeks and then evaluate what happens. During the 15 minutes (certainly you and those you disciple can spend 15 minutes out of a 24 hour day to sit in the presence of the God the universe to hear from him).

  • Five minutes reading a portion of the Bible: Read
  • Five minutes praying over what you just read: Pray
  • Five minutes writing a few thoughts to capture what you heard from Him: Journal

My fellow Christian leader, please join me in refusing to ever say again. “I’d love to _____, but I just don’t have the time.” Be willing to challenge those you disciple, teach and invest in to stop saying, “I don’t have the time.” Make time for what is truly important for Kingdom living and prioritize those things for his honor and glory!