Reading a book about a family that has been called to leave their home and move to a third world nation, reminded me about our daily choices. Life is often hectic and confusing regarding priorities. Most of us would agree with the traditional view (and order) of what we should value:
I wonder what our schedules would actually reveal. Do we really give God the most time and attention? How about our family, do they come in second over other pressing matters? As men, or as the provider for the home, do we really place the source of our income as lower? How many of us pastor types give more attention to ministry than to either God or our family? Not accusing here, I am just asking questions.
The family in the book was upper middle class folks living in a great neighborhood. God calls them to sell everything and move to the other side of the globe. During the yearlong process of selling off everything, a revelation hits. All the stuff* they possessed, was just that, stuff. The amount of time and energy that went into buying it seemed like such a waste as they sold it. (*Stuff is a technical term meaning, bits and pieces, things, possessions, or whatever else I want it to mean in this blog.)
Garage/estate sales will provide a reality check like little else. The items we just had to have or our life would be ruined, are now being sold for a quarter. Tools, books, pictures, toys, gadgets, and just about anything else can be purchased at these sales for pennies. Makes you think doesn’t it?
What should we be investing our time and energy into then? I think the order above is correct. We must do whatever we can to reorder our lives to have time to spend with our Heavenly Father. We must make time in our lives to read and enjoy His Word. We must seek to know Him, and grow in our love of Him. This is our first primary goal for all else pales in comparison. Loving God is the great and first commandment, and we demonstrate our love with time.The important items in our lives are not composed of our stuff, but our relationships. We have a relationship with our Heavenly Father, our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Our spouse, children and grandchildren are people that we know and love. Even at our job or ministry, most times it is very relationship centric. We work with people, interact with them, sell to them, buy from them, and in general, are never very far away from someone. Stuff on the other hand, is just that, impersonal, maybe pretty, comfy, high tech, shiny and nice, but still just something we use and eventually dispose of the stuff.
Our families should be next. If we are married, our spouse should be a top priority. If children come along, we must invest time and effort into developing a relationship. These primary relationships are going to last a lifetime. They deserve time and effort. The same is true with our church families. We have the same Dad. We are brothers and sisters, and we will spend all of eternity together. We must learn how to get along and to live in unity. Like most families, arguing and fussing will take place. We are family though, and we will work through it. We must, for those outside of the Family are observing our behavior.
We must also do a good job working and serving, for the Scripture tells us to work as unto the Lord. Work is not our Lord, and it is a lower priority than the others are, but we still must work. We are made in the image of God and God is not lazy. He calls each of us to work to further the Kingdom of His Beloved Son. We work to serve and work to eat. We do not worship work or destroy the higher relationships for the sake of work. Work is a means to an end and not the end. Relationships are the end.
For the record, I am not opposed to stuff. I like stuff. Nice stuff is, well, nice, but it still is just stuff. We all know that stuff is all going to burn. Even if we die before the end of the earth, we know that all the stuff we accumulate will eventually end up in a garage or estate sale, and someone else will buy our stuff for pennies.
So, what we should we live for then? What should we invest in with our time and money? What should be the priority? Well, not stuff, but God and people would be my answer. What would you say?