A Pause to Ponder God's Word
"Christian Priorities?"

The group of Christian men had gathered for a breakfast, Bible study, and fellowship. The topic of the day was Christian Priorities. The topic was presented and discussion ensued. The discussion became heated, as the placement of the top four items became a point of contention. All agreed that God was first. It was the next three, church, family, and work seemed to fall in different positions.  The frustration level rose as the discussion continued. The meeting ended with prayer asking God to grant wisdom in the establishment of priorities.

These men ran into the same problem that many Christians have. There are several static priority lists from which Christians can choose. No one argues about God's place in the number one spot, but what about the other things in our lives? We want a nice neat concise priority list. Unfortunately, static priority lists have several problems. First, most people don't abide by their own priority system. It is easier to let other's dictate our schedule. We mouth the words and quickly recite the list, but our life goes unaffected. Life is often lived by a self-centered situational ethic rather than a value based priority list.

Second, lists don't conform to the dynamic of life. Lists are rigid and life is ever moving and full of surprises. Priority decisions don't easily fit into the system. They often overlap. They are more gray that black and white. For example; by working I provide for my family. If I do not work then I cannot provide. If I work overtime I can have extra to save for my children's education, or provide even better for them. Also, if I do not work overtime I may put my job in jeopardy. This type of dilemma often finds its way into our decision-making. A nicely packaged priority system just doesn't fit life's dynamic.

Third lists are not biblical. They are not consistent with God's directives. That is not to say that we cannot use Scripture to prove our priority lists. But the fact is that Scripture does not speak about Christian priorities. It speaks about Christians' priority! Jesus addressed this issue in His Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 6:25-33 Jesus charges His disciples to "seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness" and not worry about the necessities of life. Herein lies our priority.

The word "first" used in this injunction initially seems to suggest a list. But, actually it doesn't. It enjoins us to keep Christ first in everything! Jesus concluded this directive saying, "All these things (life's needs) would be given to us as well." He affirms that He is our provider and we are to trust Him for the necessities of life. We are not to worry about these things. Our one and only priority is to keep Him (His Kingdom and His righteousness) first in everything. His will, and our service to Him is our priority. The question before us in anything we do is; how I am seeking God's Kingdom and fulfilling His will (righteousness)? How is Christ, His glory, and His will best served with the options that are before me. Every decision for Jesus' disciples is based upon this priority. Everything we do is to have Christ at the center. Everything!

1 Corinthians 10:31 confirms this priority; "Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God."  Christ first in everything! This is our priority. Living according to this priority requires knowledge of God's Word and an up-to-date relationship with Christ so that we can readily know His guidance in making decisions. In the tough overlapping decisions, a prayer asking for wisdom is answered without prejudice (James 1:5). Aligning our lives to this priority liberates from the frustration of static priority lists to the singleness of life God desires for us.
Beloved let us keep our priority straight!

Keep Close To Jesus
Pastor Gerry

A Pause To Ponder God's Word is written and distributed by Gerald Whetstone, Ordained Elder and teacher in the Church of the Nazarene. These devotionals may be transmitted, duplicated, used in part or in entirety without permission for nonprofit purposes only. Responses welcome. To Subscribe Click Here.
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