“Clean your room!” Our kids like to hear that from us about as much as we like to hear “What’s for dinner?” It seems inherent in some children to procrastinate to the point of making themselves and those around them irritated and miserable. However, before we fault our children, let’s face the truth that many of us adults also do not understand the urgency of time and are procrastinating. I have been both the procrastinator and the one who has been aggrieved by another’s procrastination. I think I have had good excuses for my own stalling, but I have never heard good reasons for another’s dawdling ... are you with me? Let’s look at a couple of scenarios:

You give your children a set amount of time to clean their room and they dawdle as if they have all the time in the world. As you give them reminders, and it gets close to the end of their time limit, then they do what all smart kids do and start stuffing things under beds and in closets, so as to make it appear (at first scan) that things are in order. Upon further investigation, you discover the deception. What now? You do what all good parents do: you lovingly exhort, admonish, discipline, and then drag everything out into one big pile and tell them to go through it properly this time. They should get rid of all the extra junk that is weighing them down, causing them to disobey, keeping them from doing other things, and stealing their time and their joy.

Now cut to this scene in our own lives. We have been given a set amount of time (with our children, with our spouse, or on this earth), and yet we are wasting that precious time playing instead of working, texting instead of teaching, worrying instead of praying, reading instead of feeding, resting instead of renovating, and feasting instead of fighting the good fight of faith. And we do it all with a nagging feeling that we are not doing what we are supposed to be doing. We hear the Lord’s gentle reminders about the urgency of time, and we start stuffing things in closets as we pretend to have a clean heart and life. Before our time is up, we need to identify our own deception and apathy and start to get rid of all the extra junk that is weighing us down, causing us to disobey, keeping us from doing the important things, and stealing our time and our joy.

I am here to lovingly exhort us all to drag everything out into one big pile and inspect our own lives. If Jesus were to return tonight, what would we do with the rest of our day? Would we get things in order, or would we order something online? Would we quickly find someone to teach our kids about Jesus’ return, or would we find time to do it ourselves? Would we nag our husbands about all that they need to be doing with their limited hours, or would we be busy loving and helping them?

Time is definitely short. No matter if you live to be 33 or 63 or 103. Each of us is just a blip on a timeline. What are we doing with our time here? I have been convinced that even if the Lord does not return tonight, we are still running out of precious time. I am also convinced that I need an overhaul of my own life’s dirty room, and I need to stop hiding the junk and putting off the important tasks.

What exactly should be filling my time, then? It amounts to as much as we can count on one hand: (1) we are to be loving God with all our heart, (2) we are to be loving others as God loves, (3) we are to be training up the next generation, (4) we are to be representing Christ through our relationships, and (5) we are to share the good news of salvation and the reality of Christ’s return. Let’s talk about each of those five piles that we’ve now exposed to scrutiny.

Loving God

I say I love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength, but do I really? What does that look like? Am I just doing what my kids love to do: playing dress-up? Pretending to love God, but in reality, living a very different life?