“I’ve been so busy!” That seems to be the measure of success anymore. Everyone is busy as if being “busy” is the best excuse or the highest status. As someone who pretty much sets my own schedule, for me to say, “I’ve been so busy” can often mean that I have been irresponsible with the way I have used my time. 

There are 168 hours in every week. Everybody gets the same amount yet it seems many use their 168 a lot more effectively than others. But, we all have 168 hours this week. That’s all. Nobody gets more, and nobody gets less.

I had a guy today ask me when I was going to come back to the spin class at the Y. I assured him that I enjoyed the class and he interrupted me and said, “I’m sure you’ve been too busy.” While I appreciated the vote of confidence, I politely said, “Not really. I just haven’t made it a priority.” After all, if it was really important to me, I would have found a way to make it into my “busy” schedule. 

I wonder if it would be wrong to have nothing on my schedule. I feel like we act like it is. The idol in our day is not some gold statue to bow down to but the idol of busyness. We’re constantly on the run. We have calendars on our phones, our walls, and in our minds. We get emails, text messages, phone calls, voicemails, tweets, and sticky notes about our 168. What happened to “be still and know that I am God?”

A pastor friend from Africa came a few years ago and, after he’d been here for a couple of weeks, I asked him, “What do you think of America?” He replied, “Everyone is so busy that nobody has time to sit down and talk.” Sure, people were polite and made some small talk but nobody really got past the greeting side of conversations.

It’s almost as if the person that dies with the busiest schedule wins. Actually, the person that dies with the busiest schedule simply…dies. Once he dies, his 168 is gone.

There are times when the Good Shepherd MAKES us lie down in green pastures. Those green pastures may look a whole lot like a vacation home, a couch, a hospital bed, or a coffin. But, if we run too fast and too hard for too long, you will be made to lie down somewhere. Better to lay down in the back of the pasture than in front of the preacher.
But, all we have is 168 and, since we cannot do it all, who gets cheated on? Unfortunately for far too many of us, it’s our family because they understand. They know you work hard. They know you will be home soon. They believe you’ll make it to the next game, the next play, the next performance, the next birthday, or the next anniversary. But, more often than you may think, it’s those families that end in divorce or disaster. Is your family really more important than your job, your church, your household chores, or your friends? Prove it! Start sacrificing someone or something other than them. 

Time is finite. You can invest it, use it, or waste it. But, make no doubt about it, you can never get it back. 168 is all you get each week. That’s it. When it’s gone, it’s gone.

Dishes will always be there but your kids won’t. Clothes will continue to get dirty, beds will need to be made, carpets and floors will need cleaned, and the dust you took off today is scrambling to get back to its rightful place of ownership on your most precious items. You have 168 hours this week to get everything done and someone, or something is going to get cheated. Better the “thing” than the “one.”

I highly doubt that one day we’ll reminisce about our lives wishing we would have worked more hours, played more video games, or done more dishes. As our summer approaches, take a good look at your schedule and see if your 168 is used on fixing and striving towards the temporal or investing in the eternal.

“Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, making the most of your time (168) because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:15-16