As we approach the USA celebration of Thanksgiving, I ask your indulgence to veer from the regular posts of productivity to share a message that was recently broadcasted to Christian professors and staff around the country by Faculty Commons, a division of Cru. I highly recommend this organization, which has groups on most campuses around the country. In their Missional Momments on Oct 27,2020, Adegbola Adesogan, from the University of Florida, shared the following message called Managing My Time. I hope it blesses and challenges each of you as it did me. Warmest Thanksgiving Blessings to all my readers.
“I am surprised at how quickly a colleague who has passed away or retired is no longer part of the discussion in an academic department. At the time, he or she is genuinely mourned and sincerely missed, but I am shocked by how quickly someone who spent 10, 20, perhaps even 30 years mentoring students, teaching classes, leading and collaborating on research projects is ‘truly gone’ and seemingly ‘forgotten’ by the university. This speaks to me about how transient our jobs and lives are.
As Christ-followers we are called to do our work as to the Lord, and so we must continually strive to do our best with our academic pursuits.
Our jobs are crucial, but temporary.
Remembering this will help us aspire for work-life balance and also direct our focus on our call to live for Christ in the university.
This could seem like a juggling act for us, but it does not have to be. As God has called us into both the academy and His Kingdom, we seek to follow His leading in both areas.
So, what does this mean in practice?
It means that we aim to excel in our teaching, research and outreach activities.
It also means we look for ministry opportunities God sends our way. We don’t want to be so intent on completing the next manuscript or grant proposal that we miss opportunities God places in our paths. This requires being interruptible, as in taking time to listen to a student who needs help outside my office hours or pausing to pray with a staff member or colleague who needs support.
It means ensuring that my light is not hidden under a bushel, rather I appropriately let my students and colleagues know about my faith.
It means being willing to share Christ when prompted by the Spirit.
Do we own our jobs and time, or do they own us?
I once heard that if you have something and you cannot give it away, you don’t own it, it owns you. As professors, our time is perhaps our most important and limited resource, and we rightly want to guard it carefully.
We need to be careful not to guard our time so carefully that we fail to meaningfully engage in the work of God on our campuses. I am learning that time spent with or for God is invested, not wasted, which is why I humbly accepted the invitation to lead the Steering Committee of the UF Christian Faculty Fellowship.
So, what is God calling you to do on your campus?
Is it to participate in a faculty discipleship group on your campus?
Or to identify yourself as a Christ-follower to your students?
Or to share the gospel with a colleague?
Or to serve someone in need?
As we work hard to exceed in our annual evaluations with our academic unit leaders, let’s also plan to shine in God’s assessment of how we have stewarded our time and fulfilled our calling through our jobs. C.T. Studd put it well when he wrote: ‘Only one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.’ ” (Reproduced here by permission, all rights reserved, FacultyCommons.com)