In a world of innovation, we are bombarded with marketing that promises to save us time, money, and/or effort. Some of us are more prone to be persuaded by one of these three depending on our circumstances in life. For those on a tight budget, saving money gets our attention quickly. For others, who feel as though they constantly run out of hours in the day, anything that promises to save time moves to the top of the list. Still others with some physical impairment or a lingering lazy streak find that saving effort is a top priority. So, which is better—saving time, money, or effort?
At various stages of my life, I would have placed a high premium on each of these.
- During the years we lived in an apartment, having to collect quarters and trudge down to the laundry room was both time consuming and required a lot of effort. We had to time the process so we did not have to wait for washing machines or dryers. We had to either stay there the entire time or keep close watch on the clock to make sure we were there in time to insert more change, or prevent someone from removing our clothes from the dryer while still wet. When I had my washer and dryer in my home, laundry became something I don’t dread to this day!
- When I was actively homeschooling, running my children to music and sports, participating in co-ops, and serving as a homeschool leader, saving time and effort were high on my list. Processed foods became a good fail-safe, as did eating out more than we should have.
To answer the question: which of the three is most important, I submit there is a more important question to ask. Will the choice I make in saving time, cost me to spend more money in the long run? Or, will my intent to save money cost me more effort somewhere else? In other words, we should make sure that by emphasizing one aspect in our life, we aren’t compromising in other important areas.
For years I maintained that I didn’t have enough time to learn how to garden and grow my own food. After all, wasn’t that why God “created” grocery stores? Now that I have been gardening for a number of months, I realize that not only would I have been providing my family with better food, but I would have been giving myself a good workout (not to mention getting good Vitamin D) and making trips to the gym less necessary. Furthermore, I could have easily made this a regular aspect of educating my children so that they wouldn’t have to wait into their adult years to get a first-hand glimpse of how God’s design turns seeds into food. Instead, we spent inordinate amounts of time on subject-matter they would never use!
The greatest benefit of the repetitive tasks that so often are maligned, with clever commercials and ads to entice us to save time, money, and effort, is that once you learn the task (ironing, washing dishes, doing laundry, etc.) there is time to spend with God as you do them. Talking with Him in prayer about the things that concern you, the areas you wish to improve, the people you care about, and generally focusing on His Kingdom and His righteousness will not only give you a peace that surpasses understanding, but you just might discover that our greatest area of “saving” is to truly enjoy God’s saving grace.