“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.
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?
I am currently in a hotel where there is some kind of pirate convention taking place. Grown men and women are dressing the part to the tee and taking their play acting very seriously. They have spent their time, money, and energy playing dress-up but never living real life as an actual pirate.
I can easily dress like a Christian, look like a Christian, and sound like a Christian, but am I only playing the part, or am I living the life? The first thing in living that life is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” Now to get it out of that pile and into action.
I have a hard time with this second pile: loving others. Not everyone is all that lovable. I’d rather procrastinate on that one, thank you. It fits nicely under the bed and no one really notices it. No one except God, that is. God Who is Love personified. The Love Who sacrifices all for those who don’t even care or appreciate it. Okay, that one hurts. The question is, Does it hurt as much as the cross? This is my prayer: “Lord, teach me to love like you do. In fact, give me the love I don’t have—give me Your love. And move me out of the way so that Your love can flow through me to all those you place in my life.”
Training Up the Next Generation
We really don’t have time to waste with this next generation by allowing others to teach them and then attempting to un-do whatever damage has been done. What more efficient way is there to train up the next generation than to stop wasting their time and keep them home where they belong? We can share with them the urgency of time, the importance of time, and the necessity of right priorities and Godly investments of their time. We are to help them discover their divine purpose before their time is up. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we don’t waste precious time; rather, we allow our kids to become productive at a much earlier age.
My husband just celebrated his fiftieth year here on this earth. We have been married twenty-eight of those. I don’t know how much time I will have left with him. We all think we have another day, but that is not guaranteed. I know too many single homeschooling moms now. So, considering the time, how should I treat my spouse today? We need to get this one out of the closet too.
God put my husband and me together in order to show my children, my family, and my community what a relationship with Christ looks like. I hope I have not wasted these twenty-eight years of marriage by misrepresenting the Bride of Christ. I must stop procrastinating, and instead of dressing the part, I need to act out the play. I need to love my husband like the Church is supposed to love Christ. This is what that looks like: I should be reverencing, adoring, loving, and walking in surrendered service to my husband as the Church is to be in relation to the Lord. I am to represent the Church that loves her God with all her heart, soul, mind, and strength. I definitely fall short of that with my spouse. Time’s up: I have to get all the junk out of the corners of my marriage and ask God to change my heart.
Sharing the Good News
Jesus Christ came to earth, died, and rose again. We certainly believe these things, but do we really believe that He will return? Much of the Church has become apathetic and lethargic, as if they have all the time in the world.
I asked my 11-year-old son today, “If you knew Jesus was coming back in one hour, what would you do with that hour?” He said he’d spend some of it repenting, spend some forgiving, and spend the rest in telling others that Jesus was coming in less than an hour. Out of the mouth of my babe, I saw my own shortfalls. Jesus Himself said: “And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last” (Revelation 22:12–13).
Keeping It Clean
Honestly, I fall short in each of these five areas. I am most pitiful most days. So how do I get from here to there? How do I clean my room?
I think it has something to do with “keeping it clean” in a daily, active sense. If we get things in order, it is easier to keep it that way. I think that it is safe to say that a “disciple of Christ” should be “disciplined.” Christ lived the way we should walk. The Word instructs us, the Holy Spirit indwells us and empowers us, but we are still commanded to “walk by the Spirit” (Romans 8:4, Galatians 5:25). God still requires our participation—which requires us to be disciplined.
Let’s look in Revelation (chapters 1–4) and see what the Lord tells the churches about His soon return and what they should do. First, He tells them what He knows about them:
- “I know you ...” (He knows what needs to be cleaned up in us. Are we taking the time to know Him?)
- “I know your works ...” (He knows what we do for our own pleasure and what is done for His glory.)
- “I know your hate of evil ...” (He knows if we are standing strong against the evil father of cultural lies.)
- “I know your little strength ...” (He knows what we are expending our little strength on.)
Those chapters in Revelation also tell us how to go back and do the first things the right way. If we find we are not loving others or honoring spouses or training children or that we’re just being lazy and procrastinating, here is the remedy:
- “Remember ...” (Look back to when you were freed from sin and get back on your knees in worship.)
- “Repent ...” (Reconsider your ways, asking forgiveness for your apathy and procrastination.)
- “Return ...” (Get up and turn around. Do the first works required—loving God—with the remaining time.)
- “Do ... Quickly ....” (Push away from distractions and quickly do those things you’ve put off.)
- “He who overcomes, I will ... [reward]” (God is a rewarder of those who don’t give up and don’t give in to indifference but are thoroughly taking heaven by force; see Matthew 11:12).
Are we ready for the moment when that heavenly timer goes off?
This hotel’s lobby has basketball playing on the television. The game is almost over. The players are tired but are giving their all during these last minutes of the game. They haven’t magically become conditioned for this moment. For many months, they have been faithful to practice a daily routine of conditioning. They cannot become lazy or apathetic; to do so would be to forfeit the game or the championship or even their livelihood.
I was struck by how many people were involved in that game: those who watched, those who cheered, those who coached, those who sat on the bench waiting to play, and those who were actually playing the game. Like them, we have a great cloud of witnesses, we have the best Coach, and we have cheerleaders and encouragers.
We need to get back in the game. We’re in the last few minutes of the game, and we must put forth our best efforts. Maybe we are fighting against a rival team, or perhaps we have uncooperative team members to deal with. Perhaps there have been foul plays against us, or no financial backing, or maybe even some bad press. We are still in the game, with sides aching and labored breathing—hoping and pressing on to make the win. A promise to hold onto is that if we do not become weary in doing well, in proper time we will reap if we do not faint (Galatians 6:9). Those who overcome will sit in the winner’s circle with the King of Kings.
“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:24–27).
“Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:23–25).
Time’s up—is your room clean?
Deborah Wuehler is the Senior Editor for TOS, participating author in The Homeschool Minute, wife to Richard, and mom to eight gifts from heaven. She loves digging for buried treasure in the Word, reading, writing, homeschooling, and dark chocolate! You may contact her at senioreditor@TheHomeschoolMagazine.com.