On the way to work this morning I passed a truck with a bumper sticker that said: “God, Family, Country”. As I read it, I was reminded that no matter who we are, in order to exist in our day-to-day lives, we have to set priorities. It may not always seem like it, since some folks have priorities like, “take lots of naps” - but the reality is, whether we're aware of it or not, we all tend to order the things in our lives in terms of how important they are to us.
So, we may put God first, then our family, then our work, and then church stuff. Or, others of us might say God, then work, then family. Or some might put family, God, then work. And still others might line things up with work or family first, then God and the other things further down the list. The point is, we all prioritize things in life - and we can see what those priorities are by how we spend our time, energy, and resources. The things that are most important to us will get the best of what we have, while the things that are lower on the list will get whatever is left over.
I know that this is probably not a new concept for most of you reading this devotional. It’s certainly a topic I’ve heard a lot about in my life. But as I’ve pondered this topic today, I’ve been reminded of how God wants us to manage our lives. Here’s what I mean: in Matthew 22:37, Jesus instructs us to, “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.” In that verse, Jesus tells us that ordering our priorities should be very simple - put God first, and then have nothing else competing for His spot. In other words, God only asks one thing from us - and that's everything.
But I also realize that there are many other things vying for our time and attention. However, the truth is, when we fully surrender to God - and love Him with our whole heart - He will direct our paths. What we have to keep in mind is that His paths won’t always fit a standard mold, or list of priorities that we might try, or want to create. So one day He may ask us to make a sacrifice of family time so that we can serve Him at work, or in our churches. And then, another day He may ask us to sacrifice work time so that we can be with family. But if we are following the Lord closely, and making sure that He is our top priority, then we can trust that He will take care of our family while we are serving Him at work - and when we are with our family, we can expect that He will take care of our work, or the ministries we’re involved in at church.
And I know this is a model that works, because it’s what Jesus did. One day He would take time away from the crowds to spend one on one time with the disciples, and then, on another day He would be ministering to large groups in need - and the disciples would be in the background. In other words, He made God His highest priority - and then He let God direct His priorities for the day. And Jesus did this trusting that God would take care of whatever it was that Jesus wasn’t focused on in that moment. So if Jesus did it, then we can be confident that we should do the same.
So today, let’s make the commitment in our hearts to follow God completely and to put Him before anything else. Let’s allow Him to order the priorities of our lives, trusting that in His wisdom He will do what’s best for us and the other people and things vying for our attention.