A prominent and popular minister, whose marriage nearly disintegrated along with his career, wrote the following about his neglect of things in his life he now considers vital:
“They never screamed out immediately when ignored. I could neglect my spiritual disciplines, for example, and God did not seem to shout loudly about it. I could make it just fine for awhile. And when I set study aside things could be ignored for awhile without adverse consequences.”
Do you understand the creeping callousness that was undermining the core beliefs and practices of this respected communicator’s life? Can you identify with his neglect of foundational footings that had been the reasons for his former success? Are poor priorities preparing you for a similar fall?
When Jesus visited the home of Mary and Martha in Bethany, He found Martha to be a hard working hostess. She was so busy that she had no time to hear what He had to say. Mary, on the other hand, sat at His feet, listening intently to His every word.
Martha was upset because Mary wasn’t helping around the house and let her frustration be known. That was when their guest let this troubled hostess know she needed to adjust her priorities, saying Mary had “chosen that good part which shall not be taken away from her”(Luke 10:42).
What do you normally choose that you’ll someday lose?
A woman once told me she didn’t have time to attend church because she had a young son who needed her attention, alerting me to the fact that her priorities were wrong. Her son needed to see his mother’s faith in action, influencing him throughout his life.
A wealthy farmer had made it to the top. His fields were producing so bountifully that there was no longer room enough in his barns to store his harvests.
“What shall I do?” he mused, evaluating his expected bumper crop. Finally, he decided to tear down his barns and build bigger ones.
Easy street stretched out ahead of him.
He concluded he had enough money now to retire so he began talking to himself about his coming golden years. Eating, drinking and making merry sounded good to him. But all succeeding generations have known him as a rich fool because that night he would die, leaving all he had accumulated to face the One he had neglected. His priorities had been wrong so his supposed prosperity perished with him.
But how do we keep our priorities right?
How can we live for what matters?
A friend once sent me an attractively printed card containing just two words: GOD FIRST. This printed priority fixer has been on the wall of my office for many years reminding me of what really matters in life.
Most of us spend our lives accumulating things we can’t keep.
And the popular bumper sticker slogan is wrong.
The one who has the most toys at the end of life doesn’t win. Winners discover what really matters in life and live in light of that discovery.