Obviously, as Christians, our priorities include God, family, church and our job. In case you’re wondering, I include job because our work is God ordained. Ideally, we consider these (I call them the Big Four) to be our priorities. However, unfortunately we don’t necessarily practice a lifestyle that reflects a biblically influenced order of priorities. For instance, some say, “family comes first.” Others say, “family and then job.” And the list goes on . . . “God, family, job and then church.” “Look out for number one.”
Beyond what we think our priorities are and what they actually are, many of us struggle because we impose so many other things on our lifestyle that the Big Four often get crowded out. In fact, we often allow the less important things to be the most time and resource consuming. Take a close look at your daily schedule. How much does television, movies, hobbies, sports, arts, dance, board games and shopping impede upon or steal from the time and resources necessary for God, family, church and work? Please allow me to ask this question a little differently. How much does the insatiable need for FUN or ADVENTURE hinder the management of your time and resources for God, family, church and work? Don’t get me wrong here. There is time for fun. In any case, another angle to examine is how the Big Four work together in unison or in conflict in your life. If they are in conflict, you’ve got something wrong.
Many of us have a list of priorities even if we don’t write them down. However, I caution you. You might have a gap between your ideals and your actual practice. And, even more, you may expect that you can compartmentalize your priorities. Let’s remember that God is never left out of anything if He is truly number one. Besides, if you must leave God at the door or in the parking lot then He’s not really a priority. Let’s also remember that included in putting God first is serving and honoring His bride, the church. All in all, if you think you can stuff God in a box and pull Him out when you think it is time to give Him your attention, you are delusional. How do I know? JN 22:36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.” In other words, He isn’t number one some of the time. He is number one all the time!
Interestingly enough, some of us compartmentalize our priorities arranging them in such a way as if they are separate and disconnected from each other. Allow me to prove my point.
You simply can’t say that God is number one and then do something else to the detriment to your relationship with God.You simply can’t say that your family comes before the church to the detriment of the church. You simply can’t say that God is number one to the detriment of your wife and children. You simply can’t say that God is number one, family second to the detriment of the church. You simply can’t say that your job is so important to the exclusion of God and the church. You simply can’t say that your family time is so valuable to the exclusion of God and the church.
I hope these statements help you realize that your priorities are distinct but interwoven.
I anticipate that you know and understand your priorities. I also anticipate that your priorities are harmonized with biblical principles starting with the Greatest Commandment. Honestly, it takes discipline and commitment to stick to your priorities recognizing that they are interwoven and must be harmonized. After all, they don’t have a bucket they fit in as if they were compartmentalized and disconnected. Stick with the Big Four: God, family, church and job.
A Work in Progress,