How To “Buy Time” With Your Family

I like what author Tim Ferris says, "I think time management as a label encourages people to view each 24-hour period as a slot in which they should pack as much as possible." But what if we want more time? Can we get it? Can we buy it? Walk with me for a minute...

Do you like a good sale? You know, the “take 50 percent off the already low price” kind of a sale! You get quality merchandise at a great value. I guess if I have one complaint about such a sale is that they usually don’t last. If you don’t make time now––while the sale is on––then you will have missed a great opportunity.

We are reminded to take advantage of a good sale or good opportunity in the Bible. It’s true! Ephesians 5:15-17 talks all about it:

So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
— Ephesians 5:15-17

Now, you may be inclined to take the words “what the Lord wants you to do” as an instruction to go and take advantage of every great sale at the mall. I would say “A” for effort, but that’s not the part of these verses that talk about a sale.

It’s actually the words, “make the most of every opportunity.” Those six words literally mean “buying the time.” Now, we all know there isn’t a place that sells time, so what does it mean to “buy the time”? The thought goes back centuries and was a metaphor taken from the time when merchants would observe the best time to sell their goods, much like ads for a sale catch our attention today.

A few years ago, I was invited to be a guest speaker on a cruise ship. As it turned out, I was available! When the ship arrived at our first port of call, passengers had the option of staying on the ship or disembarking and walking around town. We opted for the second. Once we stepped off the ship, we were met by at least 50 people selling T-shirts, jewelry, purses and food. I guess you could say they were in the right place at the right time.

Pretty smart to be in that exact location at the very moment when the ship arrived. It’s like they somehow knew. Well, of course they knew, and I’m sure they knew when the next ship was due into the port as well. You see, they were “buying the time”––taking advantage of the opportunity.

Just like a modern sale has a beginning and an end, and just like our cruise had specific arrival and departure times, our time on earth is limited, and we need to be ready to take advantage of the time we have.

To put it bluntly, our children sail in to our lives and then sail out. 

We have a limited time with them, so we must take advantage of the opportunity. We must buy the time we have with them now.

We can’t just sit back and expect all the good deals in life to come to us. We must do the looking and comparing to find the best way to make the most of our time with our family. That will mean saying no to some good opportunities in favor of better opportunities, or the best opportunity.

We can only do this by reaching forward and looking ahead. When we look back and see what we have missed, we may say, “Now that I look back, I should have taken advantage of that opportunity.” Our hindsight is pretty clear. It’s when we look ahead that life can appear to be a little fuzzy; but that’s where our faith comes in.

We ask God for the wisdom necessary to make the most of our time, and we take advantage of every opportunity we have with our family. If we don’t take advantage of our time, it will sail away, it will pass us by. Time does not stop while we try to decide how to best take advantage of it. Time is relentless that way. Taking advantage of each opportunity requires a certain diligence and planning from each one of us.

1. How will you “buy the time” today?
2. What moment will you take advantage of with your family today?

 

How To Spend Uninterrupted Time Together This Week

Monday

As a parent ask and answer this question. “What one thing can I stop doing to have a better family life pace?

Tuesday

Just before bedtime, Read Ephesians 5:15-16 together as a family then pray this prayer. “God, help us to be careful with our time. Give us wisdom as a family to know how to make the best use of our time together. Amen”

Wednesday

Have dinner together and ask this question and let everyone answer, “What where your highs and lows today?”

Thursday

Parents, on a separate piece of paper, write a note to each of your children letting them know how much you love them. Put it in their lunch or on the mirror in the bathroom for them to see.

Friday

Collect each family member’s phone and put them in a drawer. Spend the next hour playing a board game that gets you all talking.