UNITY OF VANCOUVER
“Spiritual Time Management”
I invite you to close your eyes as we use the words of the 23rd Psalm to reaffirm our faith in a God of good outcomes. "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside still waters; He restores my soul. He leads me in right paths for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod & your staff--they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness & mercy shall follow me all the days of my life & I shall dwell in the house of the Lord my whole life long." Psalms 23:1-6 As you think God thoughts, like a good shepherd, God leads you away from all harm, including harm you might do to yourself or to others unknowingly or knowingly. You are constantly in God’s protection, surrounded with God’s all good & infilled with God’s love. Let us hold these thoughts now in a moment of silence . . .
Turn to God dear ones & God will remove the pressures of your life & make you to lie down in green pastures. God will lift your anxiety & fear & lead you beside the still waters to restore your soul & body to full energy & capability. Trust that God will lead you in the right direction for your life & feel the power & the majesty of being in harmony with the flow of God’s divine order. Let us hold to the thought “I work directly with God & God works directly with me.” This positive prayer reminds you that no matter how insignificant your human mind tells you your work is, God is working in you as you work to accomplish what is your to do. Let these thoughts become yours: Dear God, I do everything for your name’s sake. I live my life to be an example of what it is to have God flowing through me. I am an example to myself first, for the way I think ministers to my entire body. The cells of my body are my congregation & my mind is a great minister who gives the lesson of truth. No matter what I face with my senses--my eyes, my hearing--even if I walk through the darkest valley I've faced in life, I fear no evil because, dear God, You are with me. Your rod & Your staff, all the power of Your mightiness, all the wonderful power of Your wisdom, You are with me to comfort me. Dear ones, even in the darkest moments, God is within each one of us. Even in the presence of the enemies of disaster, sickness or conditions & thoughts that would destroy life, careers, & relationships, when we look to God we will find the strength & power to go forward, the love to sustain us in times of change & the mercy & compassion of God reaching through us to each other. God anoints our heads, minds & thoughts-- a wonderful feeling of tranquility & warmth. & The cup of our own consciousness overflows to touch others.
Surely goodness & mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives because we dwell in God & God dwells in us. Let us draw our prayer time to a close by speaking together our prayer of protection using the word ‘you'. As we speak these beloved words, feel the power of our united faith flowing out from this Sanctuary of love to all those who need to be reassured of God’s presence. “The light of God surrounds you. The love of God enfolds you. The power of God protects you. The presence of God watches over you. Wherever you are God is & all is well. We pray today & always in the name & nature of Jesus Christ. Amen.
SPIRITUAL TIME MANAGEMENT
Our lesson about Spiritual Time Management is based on Ecclesiastics 3:1-15. “For everything there is a season & a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, a time to die; a time to plant & a time to sow what is planted; a time to kill & a time to heal; a time to break down & a time to build up; a time to weep & a time to laugh; a time to mourn & a time to dance; a time to cast away stones & a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace & a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek & a time to lose; a time to keep & a time to throw away; a time to rend & a time to sew; a time to keep silent & a time to speak; a time to love & a time to hate; a time for war & a time for peace.”
The next line asks a question. It says, “What gain have the workers from their toil?” Do you ever feel like a little hamster in a cage running on a wheel as fast as you can & not getting anywhere? What gain do you have from your toil?
It goes on & to say, “I have seen the business that God has given to everyone to be busy with. He has made everything beautiful in His time.” This idea that God’s time is very different from our time is repeated over & over in the Bible.
Listen to this next line: “He has put eternity into a man’s mind.” When you find yourself locked into a time schedule & something has to be done to a deadline, remember you live in God’s eternity. The next line says, “I know that there is nothing better for them than to be happy & enjoy themselves as long as they live.” To be happy & to enjoy your life not just in the ‘up’ moments of your life when things are going you’re way, or happy because of the accumulation of outer stuff, this is referring to the profound happiness to be found in the pure joy of being alive & living in a state of trusting in a God of good outcomes.
“For it is God’s gift to man that everyone should eat & drink & take pleasure in his toil. I know that whatever God does endures forever & nothing can be added to it nor anything taken away from it.” We live, move & have our being in one big field of energy. We are living in a state of wholeness & perfection, but that wholeness & perfection remains out of our human experience unless we awaken to it & claim it. We do this by 1. knowing our oneness with God, 2. affirming that we are spiritual beings & 3. expecting God & good to manifest no matter what the appearance is. “God has done this, so that all should stand in awe before him. That which is, already has been; that which is to be, already is; & God seeks out & restores what man has driven away.”
Let me restate this in the form of a parable. Once upon a time, a little boy leaned against the railing of a bridge & watched as the current moved the water. Sometimes the water moved very swiftly & sometimes quite slowly. But whether fast or slow, always the river flowed on under the bridge. The boy watched the river flowing all that day & made quite a discovery. It wasn’t the discovery of a material thing. It wasn’t something he could hold in his hands or even see. He could only feel it for he had discovered a great idea. As he watched the water flowing, quite suddenly & profoundly, he knew that everything in his life would someday pass away & be gone like the water flowing under the bridge. The boy came to like those words, “It’s just water under the bridge.” & all of his life thereafter, the idea served him well & carried him through, although there were days & ways that were dark & not easy at all. & Always, when he made a mistake that couldn’t be helped or lost something that could never come again, the boy (now a man) said, “Well, it’s just water under the bridge.” He didn’t worry about mistakes or life changes so much after that. He didn’t let them get him down because it was all just like water under the bridge.
Everyone of us has an equal amount of time to live, eternity. It is our individual attitude toward time, our concept & expectations of time & the expectations that we project onto others that determines whether we think time is working for us or against us. We may need to pray for wisdom & good judgment in using our time, but as Spiritual Beings, we all have the innate ability to put God first in our thoughts. As we align with God in thought our feeling nature is lifted from despair to faith & from anticipation of bad things to the expectation of good. Everything is in divine order & unfolding in God’s time.
Example: Imagine trying to run your car without ever charging the battery. That’s exactly what happens when you constantly give out energy. Eventually you wear down & out & your body vehicle stops. You are a storage compartment for divine energy. But in order to be filled up with divine energy you must take the time to recharge & refuel. You must consent & wait upon the Lord & let the power of God infill you. As the Psalm says, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They will mount up on wings like the eagles. They shall walk & not be weary. They shall run & not be faint. Teach me lord, teach me lord to wait.” If you take the time to meditate & pray, you will become so full that ‘your cup doth runneth over’ & you will spill out energy onto others.
Our co-founder Charles Fillmore was a successful businessman. Like many of us, he kept a daily calendar. Every day he scheduled an hourly appointment with God. He kept that appointment & so did God. Unity is often referred to as Practical Christianity because we teach people ‘how’ to follow in the footsteps of Jesus & live the Christ life. In our remaining time, I want to give you 3 practical ways to put this lesson to work in your life.
1. Establish a Sabbath in your life by tithing 10% of every hour back to God; 6 minutes of affirmation, centering in the presence, remembering you aren’t alone, that it is the Christ of you that’s doing the works & saying as Jesus said, “I must be about my father’s business.’ Do it for 1 week & see if you don’t feel dramatically different operating with your battery recharged. If you can’t manage that then tithe 10% of every day & use that time to meditate. Charles Fillmore said, “It is sometimes difficult to explain to one who still believes in time & space that time has no power over one who dwells in the mind of God, for there is no time in God & no time to the one who realizes the Omnipresence. Nothing will transfigure the race & renew the body so rapidly as the denial of both past & future & living totally & completely in the now.”
2. In the Unity Way of Life, we have 2 on going ways to practice the Presence. The Daily Word & the 12 Powers of Man. Every day over 3 million people join you in reading the Word for the day. Most people read it as they begin their day & then set it aside. They miss the system of the Daily Word. Our ‘thought or word’ for today is joy. Today your mind becomes consumed with joy. Every thought that you think of in your mind is a realization that you are co-creating your life with God by each choice you make. Keeping the word for today in mind throughout the day, before you make a choice, ask yourself, “Will this take me in the direction of my dreams & joy.” Every day we have a different spiritual thought & that thought becomes our direction & focus for that day. At least once every hour throughout this day affirm: “Day by day I create a life of joy.”
We have a monthly system in Unity too & that’s the 12 powers of man. Every month we focus on a different Christ Mind power. This month’s power is ELIMINATION. In the mind of God it is the idea of absolute freedom. In man it is his ability to renounce, deny, reject, or cast off all that appears contrary to the goodness of God; the power to cast off or be free from those useless cells, forms or traditions, which prevent newness & joy from achieving expression. The disciple is Thaddeus, which means large hearted; courageous of heart – the love that casts out fear. This faculty is located in the lower part of the back. The color is brown. (Leaves turn brown) The 2 main functions of renunciation are avoiding negativity & eliminating negativity.
3. One of the most common things I hear is, ‘I don’t have time to mediate. I don’t have time to read the Daily Word or pray. I wish I did but I have too many things I have to do every day.” Here is a 3rd spiritual time management method.
First thing in the morning after reading the D.W., sit down & write out the 10 most vital things you need to do today. Then go through your list & decide what are the 3 top or “A” things. ‘A’ is the greatest priority item. Write those 3 down. Then choose 3 B’s & do the same. The remaining 4 things are C’s.
Now look back at your list & of the 3 A’s decide which A is most crucial in your life & write down A 1, A2, & A3. A’s are things you can do something about right now. & then do the same with the B’s. The C’s can wait for another time. When you look at your list you can see a very important fact: 80% of how you value your day in terms of a sense of accomplishment & success comes from only 20% of the items.
The 80/20 rule suggests that in your list of 10 things, completing A1 & A2 will yield the most (80%) of the value of your day. Once you identify the 2 things that you must do, do them 1st & don’t get bogged down in the lower valued activities. Focus on the high value ones, take time to pray & ask for God’s guidance & then affirm: “I go to meet my good. I go to meet God.”
If you adopt this time management system you will feel that you accomplish something everyday. You may even discover that those C things are things that aren’t meant to be done by you or if they are, they are in the future. If this is the case, in divine order they will become B’s & then A’s.
This is a very simple spiritual prescription for living life as a complete, fully charged-up battery. Living as a spiritual or energy being having a human experience.
I want to close with a poem by James Dillet Freeman called The Journey of Today.
Dawn is the threshold of today.
You know that God does not give
Let go dead yesterday’s regret,
Prayer be the staff you lean upon;
God bless you as “Day by day you create a life of joy.”
© Unity of Vancouver, 2004 All Rights Reserved.