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Be the Master of Your Calendar



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Have you ever felt out of control, like your schedule was driving you more than you were driving it? Ben Stuart has an important message for you.

This is part one of Structure that Leads to Flourishing—an excerpt series from Ben Stuart’s book Rest & War

How do we go about what we are on earth to do? We need a plan of attack. We need to harness our calendar for the greatest of all causes. We need to organize our days.

This may not sound particularly spiritual or profound. But what I am advocating is not simply putting dates on the calendar. I am calling us to order our world, and it begins with deciding what we’ll put our hands to throughout the day. This is not simply about the modern practice of keeping a calendar. This is about figuring out how to sync up eternity in our heart with the wristwatch on our arm.

Lack of preparation opens us up to the dual attack of unproductivity and stress.

We feel like we have so much to do but also do not know what to do. So we check our email or social media two hundred times a day, or take long lunches that have no strategic purpose. We feel busy but not productive. We are like an octopus on roller skates. There is plenty of movement, but it is not necessarily forward!

Several years ago I read a book that discussed lion tamers. The author set out to answer this question: Why do animal trainers carry a four-legged stool when they go into a cage of lions? We understand what the whip is for. We get the pistol—that’s for if things end up not really working out. But why the stool?

The answer was fascinating: “He holds the stool by the back and thrusts the legs toward the face of the wild animal. Those who know maintain that the animal tries to focus on all four legs at once. In the attempt to focus on all four, a kind of paralysis overwhelms the animal, and it becomes tame, weak, and disabled because its attention is fragmented.”

Some of us look just like this. We’re doing a bunch of random activity, or we’ve got analysis paralysis. But we are meant to live far more purposeful and productive lives! I have heard people say that Jesus had a ministry of interruptions. I absolutely disagree. Jesus did not go around letting other people set the agenda of his day. He often told people no—more than you might guess.

The morning after a late night of healing people, the disciples pressured Jesus to get back into town and keep healing. The people were demanding it. But Jesus’ answer was no. He told them he must preach, so they would be moving on. The crowds did not hand him his cause; his Father did. And miracles were meant to authenticate the message.

He preached and healed in Capernaum. Then it was time to head to the next spot.

A man tried to slow him down once, basically saying, “I want to follow you, but let me bury my dad first.” Jesus said, “Let the dead bury their own dead” (Matthew 8:19–22 NIV), and he kept walking. He didn’t even break stride!

When another cried out, “Tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me,” Jesus responded, “Who appointed me . . . an arbiter between you?” (Luke 12:13–14 NIV). This guy was trying to set Jesus’ agenda, and Jesus wasn’t having it. Arbiter was not on his list of identities.

However, when a blind man cried out, “Son of David, have mercy on me,” Jesus stopped in his tracks and called the man to him (Matthew 20). Why? Because that request aligned with Jesus’ strategic purpose. He was the Son of David and he had come to give mercy. The activity matched his identity.

Jesus was willing to adapt his schedule but not outside the boundaries of his calling.

Jesus was not wandering around spouting quotable lines and randomly hanging with people. He was methodically and strategically implementing a plan for the global spread of his message. And he executed his plan brilliantly. He set his agenda by priority, not proximity, and we are meant to do the same.

You and I have been commissioned by God Almighty himself to steward his creation. We need to learn how to be strategic like Jesus was, to set our agenda by priority, to get serious about stewarding what God has given us the very best we can. Paul told the Ephesians to “[make] the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Ephesians 5:16 NIV). Life is too precious to waste time. We are meant to leverage every moment for redemptive purpose.

Proverbs 12:24 states, “The hand of the diligent will rule.” We are meant to be rulers in our environments, not victims. And diligence is an essential, celebrated, and commanded quality of rulers.

Jesus told the parable of the managers entrusted with talents (Matthew 25). The master expected his managers to take those talents and invest them in a way that would be maximally profitable. This was an illustration of our lives under God. We have been given days. We have been given resources. We have been given talents. And we are meant to organize them in such a way that yields the maximum potential out of all life under our care.

This stewardship begins with our own lives, by cultivating ourselves.

So say this with me: “I am not the victim of my schedule. I am the master.” Say it out loud. “I am not the victim of my schedule. I am the master.” Say it like you believe it!

This is neither arrogance nor wishful thinking. This is the child of God raising his or her voice to agree with the Maker’s command. Take the resources within your reach and maximize their potential. Start by harnessing your time.

To keep reading this excerpt from Ben Stuart’s book, Rest + Warclick here for part two and click here to grab a copy of this special resource.

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Scripture References

  • Matthew 8:19–22
  • Luke 12:13–14
  • Matthew 20
  • Ephesians 5:16
  • Proverbs 12:24
Ben Stuart Ben Stuart is the pastor of Passion City Church D.C. Prior to joining Passion City Church, Ben served as the executive director of Breakaway Ministries on the campus of Texas A&M. He also earned a master’s degree in historical theology from Dallas Theological Seminary. He and his wife, Donna, live to inspire and equip people to walk with God for a lifetime.