Monday, December 31, 2012

Making the best use of the time

The world seems to slow down quite a bit between Christmas and New Year's. I get about 7% of the email I usually do. The blogosphere is full of recycled "top ten" posts. Fundraising appointments seem non-existent. You probably relax a bit more, eat a bit more and sleep a bit more.

There's a season for everything under the sun so that's all fine. The problem arises, however, when the season is over but you keep living as though it's December 26.

Perhaps that isn't a struggle for you, but it sure was for me during my full-time fundraising! My first fundraising stint took 15 months which spanned two Christmases. In both cases, I hadn't made calls in a while, momentum had slowed down and I'd fully bought into the popular myth that "no one wants to meet around the holidays." So when the time came to hang up my new wall calendar, I kept up the seasonal pattern by finding a dozen other things to do other than fundraising... and not all of those things were particularly wholesome. Where much distraction is, sin is not absent.

Looking back, a lot of that trouble was entirely avoidable. Much of it stemmed from the fact that I'd forgotten my mission. The rest of it was because I'd forgotten the gospel.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. (Ephesians 5:15-16 ESV)
My time, much like my own heart, is not naturally good. Rather, both need to be redeemed by grace. If you, like me, tend to squander time that you should be redeeming, repent and believe the gospel! The Lord Jesus came to this earth as our Redeemer, voluntarily substituting His righteousness for our unrighteousness, His glory for our brokenness and His perfect use of time for our imperfect use.

After you've repented and are ready to get back at it, here are a few practical ideas to get you started:
  1. Write some thank-you notes: One of the best ways to remind yourself of your mission is to remind others. Thank your donors for helping you on the mission!
  2. Plan out the week: Do you know what you'll be doing the rest of the week? If you don't have specific goals, plans and names written down, you're not looking carefully how you walk. Choose wisdom instead!
  3. Take the first step: Know what's even better than planning? Doing! The first step often seems daunting, but it can easily serve as a catalyst for future productivity. You'll be making the best use of the time before you know it. The Lord has already gone before you in whatever task you pick. He knows what you need and He's eager to see you finish!
By God's grace, this is the year you'll finish your fundraising. What are you waiting for?