Five Time Killers

Leadership is broken because leaders are unbroken

Time is like money: invest it well early in life, and you will gain great returns later. Waste time early in life and lose fruit later. Wasted time is never resurrected; invested time never dies.

Avoid the five time killers…

1. Anger: anger runs a spectrum from disappointment to murder. None of this is fruitful. Much anger is self-imposed. You’re hemmed in by unchangeable circumstances or God hasn’t given you the gifts to get where you want to go or you grew up in a flawed family, and you respond with burning anger. Anger takes time. Every moment you spend angry is a moment lost thinking creative thoughts, and that means opportunity lost. Good fruit never comes. Bad fruit always comes.

2. Unforgiveness: often the fruit of anger, unforgiveness is the refusal to let go of what someone else has done to you—whether he did it or not. Vengeance clouds our view. Harsh words, behind-the-back attacks, controlling thoughts, all the marks of unforgiveness, mean the Holy Spirit steps back and the evil one steps in. Time is consumed in destructive thoughts and harmful words, time that can never be redeemed and that bears no eternal fruit.


3. Drivenness: the, all-consuming passion to succeed, is different from drive: drivenness is the passion for me to succeed; drive is the energy for us to succeed. Drivenness is self-centered; drive is vision-centered. Drivenness consumes our energy, squanders our gifts, and wastes our lives. Drivenness always starts well, but ends up empty. The ROI on drivenness is a dry hole. Not a good investment.

4. Competition: the brother of drivenness, the son of insecurity, the fruit of pride: not friends on the golf course, buddies who enjoy a good go at each other and then a good laugh. No, it’s war masquerading as love on a church staff or business on the street. C. S. Lewis speaks of comparison as the essence of competition sired by pride that brings the offspring of a fall and destruction. It’s the need to be #1 masked as doing my best or serving the Lord with all I have.

Can I really want to do my best to the Lord? Of course! How can I tell? Can you learn from your peers? Do you rejoice when others succeed? Can you accept the success of someone you thought of as inferior to you? Answer these questions and you will know.

5. Identity emptiness: the need to prove myself through what I do; the Moses syndrome. Like Moses we want a new identity; like Moses we’re not going to get a new identity. We’re stuck with who we are. Moses didn’t do too badly with what God gave him, did he? Neither will you if you trust God to confront your Pharaohs.

Remember the solution to time killers is theological. The reason we’re caught up in these struggles is because we don’t believe our theology enough to apply it to our lives.

Every one of these time killers is the fruit of unbelief, the thought that life is up to me. Think that in early in life, and you will end up empty later. You simply don’t have time for the time killers, no matter how young you are.

From "Five Time Killers" on Broken Leadership Blog is about changing the leadership conversation from what we are doing with our hands to what God is doing through our hearts.


Bill Lawrence is the President of Leader Formation International, Senior Professor Emeritus of Pastoral Ministries and Adjunct Professor of DMin Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary where he served full-time for twenty-four years (1981-2005). During this time he also was the Executive Director of the Center for Christian Leadership for twelve years.