The Question of Priorities

I awoke at 11:30pm after having gone to bed less than 2 hour earlier and struggled to get back to sleep. A thousands thoughts raced in my mind: the sermon I need to finish, the gift I need to buy, what words of encouragement I will speak at a 21st birthday party, what I will do with my son before he goes back to school. The list goes on. So much to do, so little time. Isn’t that what we say. But, is it true?

We live in a world geared toward productivity. Value comes not just from what we do, but how much we do. We often take pride in the fullness of our schedules and boast of how “busy we are”. Then, we lie awake at night worrying about things left undone or yet to be added to the list. We feel tired, in need of a break, yet we force ourselves to keep plodding ahead, three steps at a time. God says, “Be still and know….. We say, “Who has time to be still.”

Is this really the way it’s supposed to be? What if God, who knows me and who searches my heart, has a different vision for how life is meant to be lived? What if, in preparing works in advance that I might walk in them (Eph 2:10), He also prepared me. What if he gave me everything I needed, including time and capacity, to achieve those works (2 Co 9:8)? Then, somewhere there exists a disconnect between the way that I live and work and the way that God intends.

For the past few years, I have wrestled with this. I see it, but living the reality of it comes hard. Recently, I am realizing that a letting go must take place. I see how I have prioritized things that God values, but doesn’t necessarily place at the top of the list. I also see how God has priorities to which I rarely pay attention. Like, what if God values and prioritizes my presence more than the presentation of my content? What if the way that I am with people, even when I am teaching, is of greater value to God then how I present.

For a seminarian, saying that almost feels like heresy. But when I look at Jesus, I realize that His message flowed from His life and from His relationship with God. Jesus knew the Scriptures, so he must have spent time reading and studying and meditating. Jesus also spent lots of time listing to His Father. Out of these two places, His teaching flowed (Jn 12:49-50). In the Gospels, I have never seen Jesus agonizing over the perfect illustration. Nor have I seen him turn away someone in need because He was to busy doing God’s work, Yet, I dare say, I am guilty of both.

So, what if I have it wrong? What if my stress comes from agonizing and investing into things that do not accomplish the works God has set apart for me? What if my need is to let go of my world inspired priorities in order to embrace Gods? What if this paves the way to peace and true productivity as God defines it?

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