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David's Deliberations . . .

Twenty Minutes to Success

Is there some topic or book of the Bible you've been wanting to study in depth? How about a period of world history? U. S. History?

Have you ever thought that you'd enjoy being an expert on something or someone? Maybe the Ming Dynasty? Maybe Pre-Colombian Art? Perhaps Lewis and Clark? How about Mars? What about Red Tree Frogs?

Is there a project you'd like to begin, or one you've started and would like to finish?

In one year or less you can accomplish some rather involved or otherwise burdensome tasks by investing just twenty minutes a day. For example, you could:

  • Plant and keep a small garden.
  • Become more physically fit.
  • Learn to play a musical instrument.
  • Paint your house, inside and out.
  • Learn a foreign language.
  • Learn English.
  • Write a book.
  • Dig a fish pond.
  • Restore an antique.
  • Read the entire Bible.

Small tasks could be tackled as well. In twenty minutes you could:

  • Tidy a room or the junk drawer.
  • Clean out the refrigerator or a shelf in the garage.
  • Visit with your neighbor at the fence or telephone someone who needs a call.
  • Sharpen the garden clippers.
  • Shine your shoes.
  • Change some batteries or some light bulbs.
  • Make a dessert.
  • Take a short walk.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Write a thank you note.
  • Read a poem.

Large drudgery-type tasks can be accomplished twenty minutes at a time:

  • Doing tax returns (start in January).
  • Cleaning closets and cupboards.
  • Cleaning out and organizing the garage or toolshed.
  • Reading a book.
  • Doing household repairs.
  • Memorizing passages of Scripture.

The trick to success here is to do whatever it is you're going to do for twenty minutes everyday without stopping. That is, don't take a day off from your twenty minutes of diligence and don't stop working until the twenty minutes is up. This will not only lead to getting things done, but will help develop good working habits.

The Bible has much to say about habits of industry, strengthening of purpose, developing endurance, and growing through life:

"The hand of the diligent will rule, but the slack hand will be put to forced labor." --Proverbs 12:24

"...make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need." --1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

"For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread. But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary of doing good." --2 Thessalonians 3:10-13

"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth." --2 Timothy 2:15

"...but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." --2 Peter 3:18

"Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith." --Galatians 6:9-10

"Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God." --Hebrews 12:1-2

"Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing." --James 1:2-4

"Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus." --Philippians 4:13-14

Devoting just twenty minutes per day to making things happen, reaching for, and striving toward goals can accomplish much for your spiritual growth and for the advancement of God's kingdom.

—David Carl Swanson