Acts of love don't just happen. At times we may experience the power of the Spirit in such a way that some good deed seems to flow naturally from our heart, through our hands, to the benefit of others. But plucking a ripe raspberry from the bush in a moment doesn't mean that it just appeared. Weeks and months of sunlight and rain, proper nutrients and right conditions, went into the slow daily growth of good fruit. And so it is with our acts of love for the good of others.
There is a process to the production of love, as the apostle Paul counsels his protégé Titus: "Let our people learn to devote themselves to good works, so as to help cases of urgent need, and not be unfruitful" (Titus 3:14). Good works don't just happen. Meeting the needs of others doesn't appear out of thin air. There is a process — a learning — to devote ourselves to good.
And one significant "spiritual discipline" is learning to manage our time in the mission of love, both in terms of proactive scheduling and planned flexibility. Previously, we suggested "fairly rigid blocks for our proactive labors, along with generous margin and planned flexibility to regularly meet the unplanned needs of others." Now to the tune of making that more specific, here are four lessons in fruitful time-management, for the mission of love.
1. Consider your calling.
God has gifted each of us for the common good (1 Corinthians 12:7). He empowers a variety of gifts, services, and activities among his people (1 Corinthians 12:4–6). In terms of our professional "calling," often we find it easier to identify what it is God might be moving us toward in the future, rather than what he has presently called us to today. For instance, it can be difficult for the business student, sensing a "call" to one day do business for the glory of God, to realize that his present calling is that of a student, even as he moves toward his perceived future call in business.
[Read the rest of the article at Desiring God.]