Priorities

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” Matthew 6:19-21

Are you feeling swamped? Are 24 hours a day just not enough to get everything done that needs to be done? Are you drowning in information overload, over scheduled, struggling with too many opportunities?

You’re not alone. It seems that part and parcel of being alive in the 21st Century is being over-committed and overwhelmed. We ration our time between family, school, work, community involvement, church attendance, personal care, sport and recreation, home responsibilities, relationships, and a host of other things. On top of everything else we try to eat nutritionally balanced meals, read the latest book, squeeze in time for prayer and Bible study, and still get eight hours of sleep every night. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

God’s Word addresses our dilemma. In Matthew 6:19-21 it says, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

Grasp the essence of this text and live by what it teaches and I guarantee you’ll never again feel over-committed or overwhelmed. That’s right. If you take stock of your life and invest, not in earthly treasures, but in things that have eternal value, you’ll be able to live a victorious Christian life.

But how do you do that? How do you make time count instead of counting time? How do you break out of the tyranny of the urgent? Jesus provides the answer. His life on earth had a purpose. He came to bring salvation to mankind through His death and resurrection. Similarly, you need to be very clear on God’s purpose for your life. What has He called you to do? Whatever it is, make that your priority. Then, like Jesus, as you pursue God’s purpose for your life, be sure to minister to needy people along the way. Ray Ortlund puts it in these words, “We must first be committed to Christ, then to one another in Christ, and finally to the work of Christ in the world.” No matter who you are, if you are a Christian your ultimate purpose will always be to grow in your relationship with Jesus Christ and serve Him as He leads.

On a more down to earth level, put Christ first and then everything else will fall into place. Your priorities will be straightened out when it’s all about Jesus and not about you. I begin each day prayerfully asking God to help me pursue His calling on my life. I ask Him to order my time, to schedule my appointments, and to help me keep Him in focus. Then, as I go through the day I look for the opportunity to encourage someone in need – the chance to extend a well-timed smile, a helping hand, a warm embrace, a word of prayer, a listening ear, a comment seasoned with love and grace. That’s how Jesus seemed to do it. He kept it simple. He fixed His eyes steadfastly on His ultimate destination while reaching out to people along the way. That seemed to be His only plan. He never had a daily planner with scheduled healings, miraculous feedings, or appointed times for parables. He set out for Calvary using every opportunity to point others to the Father as each day brought Him closer to the final day. It should be no different for you and me. Our priority is to pursue the primary calling Christ has on our lives and reach out to others along the way.

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