Prioritize Your Christian Life
Most Christians work hard at ‘balancing‘ their priorities in life. This carefully thought-thru balancing act prioritizes life in this way: God first, family second, church third, work fourth … and so forth. In doing so, we find ourselves in the middle of an impossible tug-of-war between conflicting responsibilities. We end up seriously sacrificing one duty over the other. Dividing our time or ‘to-do list’ in this manner will mess up our precious relationships in the process.
In the book Your Work Matters to God, Doug Sherman offers a different model. He says, “The Christian life is similar to the pentathlon. The pentathlon requires the athlete to be proficient in five areas: pistol shooting, epee fencing, horseback riding, swimming, and running. It involves a wide range of skills and knowledge and requires a thoughtful strategy for training. The athlete’s training time must be carefully divided among the events, although some events will take longer than others to train for. The goal is to do well in all areas to win the prize.”
Everything we are, along with all that we do, must be surrendered to Jesus Christ. Under His new management, every priority matters to the Master. Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever your task, put yourselves into it, as done for the Lord and not for your masters...” So we cannot relegate or limit our time to meet with God on Sundays or during our personal meditation. After all, He is Lord over our home, church, and workplace. God has His hand over every area of our lives. God’s rule should free us from our perceived conflicting chain of priorities. This demanding ladder has been leveled at the foot of the cross. As every aspect of our lives integrates into Christ, the human hierarchy of priorities is transformed into a divine harmony.
So what we do to make a living is important! It isn’t found in the fourth or fifth rung of some imaginary ladder of priorities. While we shouldn’t allow our jobs to define us neither should we look down upon what we do thinking that it has no relevance to every area of our life. Where there was once division, there is now wholeness. God’s presence is equally revealed in our worship, in our work, and in our relational web. If we misuse work as a means of finding fulfillment and self worth, our family will suffer. If we fashion our family life as our idol, our performance at work or in ministry will suffer. If we raise worship to the top of the ladder, our children will feel undervalued thinking that we love our church more than we love them.
The importance of working hard, relating well to friends, worshipping whole-heartedly, and loving family may appear daunting, but with time and sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, we can learn to live integrated lives—lives that hold up and honor the Lord in every way! Sherman encourages us with this thought: “Accept God’s sovereignty over your life and over the time at your disposal. There is just enough time in every day to do what He wants. This does not mean you will accomplish everything you want to accomplish. It does mean that when your head touches the pillow at night you can feel settled in your spirit that you worked hard to honor God with the time and the responsibilities He gave you.”
The Bible says “Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the LORD guards the city, the guard keep watch in vain. It is vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.” Will you let the LORD integrate your priorities and transform you into a pentathlon Christian—disciplined, diligent, and proficient in the multi-faceted areas of your life?