Question:

I hope that you can give this question of mine an answer for my soul greatly needs it.† I really need someone who I assume, ďhas been thereĒ, to give me an advice in overcoming this obstacle in my life.

Iím 20 years old and studying. Sir, I truly am interested in knowing the truth of the Bible.† I want to know what God requires of me that I may follow them and enjoy sweet fellowship with both the Father and the Son. I have purposed in my heart that I will study my Bible intensely.†One problem I have is the lack of time management skills.†You see, Iím also studying computer programming and I really want to be a good computer programmer that I may end up with a good job to help my family and not depend on them.† I also think that I can use this as a service to God in the future.† Nevertheless, Iím struggling on how to divide my time between studying computer programming and my Bible.

I know that itís not impossible to attain success in both, but I just donít know how.†Sir, I would ask you to give me some advice on this because I greatly need it.† Any advice from experience would be great but any advice from the Bible would be the best.† Thank you, sir.† May God bless you.


Answer:

I definitely can tell you from experience because at the age of 16 I decided that what I wanted most to do in life was to preach the Gospel, but I also realized that I needed to be able support myself and my family because preaching doesn't often pay well. Often support gets cut in times of hardship. So I chose Computer Science as my "tent-making" job.

"After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers" (Acts 18:1-3).

"For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God" (I Thessalonians 2:9).

"For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us" (II Thessalonians 3:7-9).

During my college days I was given an opportunity to preach at a small congregation, about an hour away, each Sunday for over a year. After I graduated I went into programming full-time, purposely selecting locations where the church was small and could not afford a preacher. I continued doing this for about 18 years until I had moved up too high in the company I worked for and the demands of my job began to interfere with my availability to preach. At that point I left the computer field and began preaching full-time. I still dabble in computers, teaching at a local college, repairing systems, and doing some free-lance programming, but my primary focus is on teaching God's word.

So what you want to do is doable. And you will likely find the two careers complementary. For example, it takes a special way of thinking to program computers (I'm teaching a course in that right now). But that way of thinking also helps in breaking down complex problems and seeing how to solve them in a step-by-step manner. It is these skills I use in answering people's questions.

The best way to learn is to give yourself a reason to learn. I taught people the Bible while I was in college as opportunities arose. I volunteered to teach a children's Bible class. And for a while I presented lessons each week. Knowing that someone was depending on me to teach them made me set aside time to study. In teaching questions and problems always came up that made me look through the Scriptures to find solutions and if I got stuck, I would search out older preachers in the area to help me. In this way I constantly studied. I'm sure that during my college days I probably spent more hours on computer science, but my Bible study was more focused and goal oriented.

Another thing that you will learn is that there is always time for the things we desire most. If you pick the most important things first and fix time for them, you can always manage to fit other things around them. Take a look at "Too Busy Doing the Wrong Thing" for more details.

Of course, Bible study never ends. I continue to study daily and the answering of questions keeps my studies focused on solving day-to-day problems. Like any subject that you continually study, the effect is accumulative. It seems overwhelming at the moment because you have barely begun. As your knowledge and understanding increases, the amount you learn as you study will also increase. "Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning" (Proverbs 9:9).