Last month we began looking at how we teach our children that time is the most precious, irreplaceable ”commodity” we have. We treasure time because we have a very limited and unknown amount of it. We begin to teach our children to value their time by modeling for them correct attitudes and behavior in how we manage our time. Last month’s Corner would be helpful to read prior to reading this Corner if you haven’t previously read it. We will conclude our discussion this month.
Family Bible time is an excellent opportunity to teach the basis for right decisions including how to value time. Foundational truths that we want our children to live by can be taught during family Bible time. As we go through Scripture with our children, we will discover verses that speak directly to a particular topic such as time management and other verses that we can use to teach secondary applications.
Two good examples of verses with a primary application of valuing time are: “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16), and “Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5).
There are also many other sections that teach about time from a secondary application. I picked three passages from Mark fairly close together as examples of how easy it is to use Bible time to highlight a particular topic.
“And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel” (Mark 1:15). In this verse, I would call attention to how John the Baptist is conveying a sense of urgency. Time is passing; and therefore, one can’t assume a decision for how to utilize our time can be put off for the future. It may be too late if it is delayed. Therefore, the correct decision must be chosen and acted upon immediately. If we don’t make the right decisions for our time, we may not receive a second chance to do something. We must use our time wisely. The few short years of childhood must be spent wisely preparing for adulthood and serving the Lord. If wasted, they can’t be reclaimed.
“And they departed into a desert place by ship privately. And the people saw them departing, and many knew him, and ran afoot thither out of all cities, and outwent them, and came together unto him. And Jesus, when he came out, saw much people, and was moved with compassion toward them, because they were as sheep not having a shepherd: and he began to teach them many things. And when the day was now far spent, his disciples came unto him, and said, This is a desert place, and now the time is far passed: Send them away, that they may go into the country round about, and into the villages, and buy themselves bread: for they have nothing to eat” (Mark 6:32-36).
In this passage, I would discuss how the people saw an opportunity to be with Jesus and took it. They dropped what they were doing and ran to be with Him. If they would have chosen to spend their time having fun, they would have missed being able to hear Jesus teach.
These people wisely made the best choice for how to use their time at that particular moment. As a result, they were able to listen to Jesus for an entire day. Then there was an added blessing—Jesus performed a miracle by feeding them all. In a similar fashion, as we choose to follow Jesus in how we spend our time, there will be good fruit that is reaped. As we spend time with Jesus, He desires to take what we have learned and apply it to our lives.
“And Jesus answered and said, Verily I say unto you, There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my sake, and the gospel’s, But he shall receive an hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world to come eternal life” (Mark 10:29-30).
From these verses, I would point out to my family how the Lord gives back to us far beyond whatever one might perceive to lose. Here Jesus was promising that there are blessings in eternity that far out weigh any sacrifices that we make on this earth. As we choose the best use of time, we must believe Jesus’ words that the eternal benefit far outweighs any earthly benefit.
Family Bible times are wonderful teaching times, and I’ve given a few examples of how you can use them to teach the value of time to your family. They will be blessed if you catch a vision for the wealth of practical teachings at your fingertips each evening while you are in the Word together.
Another great tool to teach our children to value time is for us to personally have and follow a schedule. We emphasized last month how our example is very important in imprinting truth in the lives of our children. Certainly having a schedule is a key aspect of this modeling process. Our schedules should reflect the vision that God has given us for our family.
Your children will observe that you are following a schedule because time is precious and not to be wasted. They will see that you want to be a good steward of your time. Our children need to see that Dad doesn’t waste his time on unprofitable things and that Dad spends his time with a view on eternity.
There can be much talk about how valuable our time is, but if we still choose to waste our time doing what the world does, we’ve gained nothing with our children. Instead, we’ve taught them that time is for our pleasure and enjoyment not the Lord’s glory. “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:4-5).
Our schedules should dovetail nicely with our wives’ schedules. Their schedules will include all the children and detail how each one will spend his time during the day. It is a great opportunity to discuss with the children why we do certain things and other things we avoid because they are a waste of time. To pray with the children and ask the Lord to direct in how He wants them to use their time highlights for them that all of our time is His time, and it is to be used as He directs. This ties back into those family Bible time discussions of time and how time should be spent.
If the children are young then Mom, consulting with Dad, will create their schedules. The older and more responsible they are, then they should be able to work with Dad and Mom to make their own schedules that will mesh with the family’s schedule. If they need a resource to help them, the young men could read Redeeming the Time and the young ladies Managers of Their Homes. Why not give your children a jumpstart in an area of life in which many parents are lacking? Time management is a great discipline to have, and with that skill your children will be far more effective in life.
These years of discipling our children are important in preparing them for life. Just as our children do schoolwork each day so they are properly educated for their adult lives, we need to teach our children to value time and then help them to implement what they have learned. If we teach them these truths, but let them waste their time in front of a TV, playing video games, or participating in sports, we’ve gained nothing. However, if we model for our children the value of time, teach them Scripture’s view on time, help them to make wise decisions on how they spend their time, and use a schedule as a family, we will be a tremendous blessing to our children.
If you would like more encouragement for how to raise children who will value and not waste time I recommend Preparing Sons.