One night during the summer as I was running, I realized that I needed to make some pretty drastic adjustments to what I considered a priority. I was thinking about how Jesus lived His life, what He thought was important and how He lived in light of that. Then when I looked at my own life, all I could see were the inconsistencies that didn’t match up for someone who considers themselves a follower of Christ.
Jesus was a hard worker. But He didn’t always do what others expected Him to do. Mark 1:32-38, John 11:3-44, and John 17:4 are all good examples of where Jesus ignores an urgent need to attend to what really matters – in these cases praying or directly obeying the Father. Jesus knew what was important because He was the Son of God, but also because He spent time receiving instructions from God the Father (Mark 1:35). Others might have considered Jesus unreliable because He didn’t do what most people expected of Him. Jesus’ first priority wasn’t to meet the needs of others, but to do only what the Father sent Him to do (John 6:38). He worked hard to achieve that goal (Mark 1:32-34). Sometimes He was even unable to eat (Mark 3:20-21).
Whether you like it or not, your priorities determine how you live your life and what makes up a day for you. Whether we are awake or asleep, what we eat for lunch, how we order our days… . We are living by what we have deemed a priority. And these priorities are determined by either what we’ve decided is actually important or by just satisfying an urgent demand.
The reality is there are always going to be urgent needs generated from other people: your boss, your kids, your friends, neighbors, spouses or even yourself. These demands are not necessarily evil. A lot of times they are amoral or may even seem really good. And there will certainly always be demands that are important to attend to, but there’s always going to be someone that has some kind of itch that needs to be scratched. Whether or not you choose to respond to these urgent demands will be based on your priorities.
After taking an inventory of how I spend the time that God has given me, I discovered that God is not my priority. For the most part, my priority is to myself and making sure that I’m comfortable.
In the book, Tyranny of the Urgent!, Charles E. Hummel advises we take inventory of the time we have been given by making a chart that actually shows us what happens to our time – this is wise to do because what we think we do with our time may not match up with what we actually do with our time.
When we discover that our priorities – what we actually do with the time God’s given us to steward – honors ourselves or others instead of God, we need to realize that we are in sin because we’ve made an idol of those things instead of God. Poor stewardship reveals idolatry in our heart because we’re basically saying that we don’t trust God so we’re going to do it our way. And when we do this, we are not leading our families well.
Fortunately for us there is grace. And in God’s kindness, He leads us to repentance. As we begin to seek the Lord daily, our priorities will begin to shift. May the Lord guide us in this and help us begin to submit decision after decision to His good will for His glory and to the benefit of our families.