What’s your time worth? If you were to put a value on your time, what would it be?
Well, many (most) of us trade our time for money in order to pay for the necessities of life. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the average worker in the US trades an hour of their effort for just about $23. (I must admit I was surprised it was that high, but that includes highly paid people in the average too)
Many of us think about our time in terms of exchanging it for money, especially if money is tight. However, we often forget the opportunity costs that come along for the ride when we work overtime or are so tired from work that we can’t do the other things we want to.
God has really been working on me with opportunity costs lately. This summer I resigned one of my teaching positions because it was just taking too much time from my family, and the bottom line was that the cost of teaching was too great. That’s not to say that I don’t like teaching’; far from it. But the opportunity cost was too high.
Jesus keeps bringing this topic to mind, and as I did my devotions the past couple of weeks this came to me again:
“Then Jesus told his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24–26, ESV)
What will it profit me if I exchange my soul for the world? What, in the end, is the lost opportunity from what I am pursuing. I actually read these words while sitting in a hunting blind with my son, enjoying a beautiful morning in the woods of Northern Arizona. Sure I was passing up some chances to be up there with him hunting elk, but it was worth it.
Jesus brought it to mind again yesterday as I was studying. I have made a conscious effort to be home more recently, and yesterday I decided to work from home in the afternoon so that I could be around for the kids and help Laura too. James got restless in the afternoon, and there I was translating Exodus 14 in my recliner.
I had an opportunity to love on my son, so I put the laptop aside and grabbed the football. We probably only played for a half hour, but soon he will be grown up and gone, and my opportunities to sow some love into him will be gone. And Exodus 14 was still there waiting for me when we got done!
I am trying to look more for not only what I can do, but what it costs me to do what I do and whether those opportunity costs are worth it. And because of that, I am spending my time in some different ways, with plenty more to work on!
How about you? Do you think about opportunity costs? In your spiritual life, are you considering what you pass up to take part in what you do? Is Prison Break or Monday Night Football or Battlefield 3 taking up enough time that your opportunity to worship Christ is passed? How about in your relationships, your habits, your thought life?
Where is God leading you in making the most of the opportunities you have right now?