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As I was doing the last 3 questions of today's lesson, I wondered what made Joseph so different. In a devastated world, he was the one capable of providing the leadership necessary for the survival of the greatest number of people. His story is one of the most beautiful on forgiveness. How could he truly forgive those brothers? One of the things that made him such a great leader also made him a great forgiver. I think he could lead and forgive because he knew how to keep MAJOR things MAJOR and MINOR things MINOR. Have you ever been told you were majoring in minors? Joseph was able to keep a minor thing--like hateful, vengeful brothers--a MINOR thing, because he knew there was a MAJOR event that he was responsible for--saving the Israelite family, Egypt, and the known world from perishing in a devastating, 7-year famine. And, truly, 10 brothers' attitude problems were minor in comparison to this famine. He kept the major thing utmost in his mind. He kept his PRIORITIES straight. Maybe that's the key to it all - PRIORITIES - knowing what needs major attention and what deserves just a little of our time. Time is an important indicator of where our priorities are. So is money, but we'll not not talk abou that today.

Today, I want us to put things into perspective in our own lives. Let's see in black and white where we spend our time. There are 168 hours in a week. Do you have any idea how you spend the majority of those hours? Let's see if we can get a rough estimate.

Your sheet of paper has been divided into 3 sections. At the top of the first section, label it "SELF." I'm going to name some activities. Write each down, and beside it - the number of hours you spend doing that activity in an average week.

Be honest with yourself. This is not for others to see. Don't worry about precision and accuracy. We just need a quick estimate today.


  • Sleep - 8 hrs. a day = 56 hours

  • Physical Appearance - Include here exercise, beauty shop, make-up on and off, shower, manicures, etc. Anything you do to enhance your physical appearance.

  • Television - News, movies, soaps, series, talk shows, etc.

  • Hobbies - sewing, cooking, crafts, piano, painting, computer, etc.

  • Quiet time - reading magazines, novels, daydreaming, worrying, etc.

Skip a space for these next 3 or 4. It's hard to say where they belong.

  • Shopping - groceries, clothes, Wal-mart, wallpaper place, etc.

  • Cooking and cleaning up

  • Housekeeping

  • Part time job - if you get paid

Total up this section. Call out some of your answers.

Are we going too fast/slow?


There will be two divisions in this section--family and friends. With family we only want to count QUALITY TIME. I am defining quality time as where both you and the other family member come away with a good positive feeling for each other.

  • Family - Quality Time - Rarely TV time.

    • Children - one-on-one or collectively. Count bath time for little ones only if it is usually a happy, good quality time. If you eat breakfast with your children count it only if it is good quality time. I can't count that time at my house, because I don't talk--carry on a conversation--unless I have to, until about 9:00 a.m. Rushing them off to school, I can't count even though it is spending time with them, because it is rarely quality time. Count things like games played individually with them, talks, shopping--only if you are shopping to please the child. Phone calls to those away from home - if quality time.

    • Husbands - Quality time - dates, after kids are in bed, etc. Don't count just being in the house at the same time.

    • Family unit - Quality time - dining out, cultural events, mealtime if it is quality time. No ill feelings afterwards. What went on in your world today, etc.? Park, Games, TV only if you all feel good because of each other and not because of the show.

    Skip a space.

  • Friends - All of this is quality time - all on our best behavior.

    • Socializing - club activities, parties, coffee breaks with neighbors, drop-ins, chance meetings at grocery store or school where you stop and chat awhile; How much time you spend with friends; Groups - PTA, singing groups, Volunteer work, quilting group, etc.

    Total this section

    Have some of you done this kind of thing before? I presented this in a ladies' class before. For one lady it was such an eye opener - she took it home and taped it to the inside of her kitchen cabinet door so she would see it often and remind herself of where her time was being spent. She discovered she was spending more that twice as much time with friends than with her family and extremely little time with our last section, which is Jesus.


    • Worship Services - if attend every service here - 4 hours

    • Extra Bible Studies - ours 1½ hours - Wednesday ladies' class ?

    • Study - prayer, reading Bible, preparation for Bible classes, reading Upreach, Gospel Advocate, etc., religious books, home devotionals, etc.

    Total this section

  • Self - Others - Jesus
    Anything major we have left out?

    Look at the proportions in time. Do most of you have the most time under SELF? Subtract your sleep time. Is it still the most? Is your next highest total in the OTHERS category? What's last?

    In college I belonged to a women's club called "JOY." It stood for Jesus first, Others second, and Yourself last. I'm not trying to suggest that these numbers should be reversed. I honestly don't know what a healthy ratio would be. You judge. Jesus spent some time to Himself, but usually He had at least a few of His disciples with Him.

    The purpose of this is to look honestly at your average week. You decide if you are majoring in minors or if you have your priorities straight. Draw your own individual conclusions.

    Jeannie Cole

    West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
    Ladies Bible Class, Spring 1989

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