Now all glory to God, who is able, through His might power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 3:20 NIV
How would you rate your timing management skills today? In a world driven by instant gratification, overnight success and twitter-long attention spans, it seems there is painfully little discourse given to the topic of “timing”. As leaders, resources abound to help us with staff management, client management, resource management, self management and even time management. Resources on timing management however, are much harder to find.
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And yet, as Christ-followers who ultimately report to a Divine Authority, we must learn and discern the art of timing management. In 1 Samuel 13:1-14 the story is told of King Saul, a leader under the pressure of a timing challenge. With the odds stacked against him – King Saul watched helplessly as his soldiers scattered, his enemies loomed and God’s prophet –Samuel -delayed. What was Saul as a leader to do? Everyone was looking to him for direction in this mission-critical moment. King Saul, who had already waited seven stress-filled days in compliance with Samuel’s instructions, knew in his heart that he should not act and could not win without clearance from the Lord. But as the moments ticked away, without an appearance from Samuel, Saul became desperate and decided to take matters into his own hands. As a result, although what Saul desired was very right (a sacrificial offering), his impatience with respect to timing was very wrong (in the absence of Samuel). Regardless of serious time pressures, Saul did not have the authority to do what only God’s designated prophet was instructed to do. Ultimately, Saul’s poor timing management resulted in a loss far greater than he could envision; his entire dynasty was stripped from him (1 Samuel 13:14).
At the root of Saul’s far-reaching mistake was a short-sighted failure to accept and respect God’s timing. Saul allowed impatient fear to colour his judgment, triggering him to act rashly rather than wait on the Lord. The end result was lasting and catastrophic. (See Esau’s experience in Genesis 25:29-34 for yet another example of poor timing management forever altering his destiny!)
Friend, as leaders operating within a global climate of lightening speed technology, fluctuating market economies and frustrating resource scarcity – not to mention the high expectations we place on ourselves and others – there is constant pressure to take action. We too may be tempted to take matters into our own hands, without waiting God’s clear direction, in order to expedite our desired results. Let’s learn from Saul’s example the importance of timing management. We can trust that God’s timing is always perfect and, as we patiently wait on His timing rather than our own, we can expect our present impact and future legacy to accomplish infinitely more than we could ask, think or dare to imagine.