Summary: In the Great Commandments, Jesus shows us how to prioritize our busy lives.
Busy, Busy, Busy
October 16, 2004
“Busy” is the hallmark of our times. I don’t know how many times I ask people, “How are you doing?” and the answer, more commonly than not, is “Busy”. It has become somewhat of a ‘badge of honour’ to wear, it seems. I’m not asking people how busy they are…I genuinely want to know ‘how’ they are doing. That doesn’t have a lot to do with how busy they are, really. This obsession with being ‘busy’ is, actually, one convenient way to keep from relationships. If someone says to you that they are busy, you’ll back away from trying to take any of their time; I’ll back away from you if that is the answer. What is being said is often, really, “I’m too busy to stop and form a relationship with you.”
Many live lives that are out-of-control, where circumstances, including work, run them around. Without question, we all have a lot to do. Just think of some of the activities that fill our lives:
- work- about 9 hours/day
- travel- to and from work- maybe 2 hours/day for some/many
- sleep- hopefully 8 hours/day, but not so for most in North America
- eating- hopefully a couple of hours/day
- time with family
- church- for us, that’s about 4 hours/week or so- maybe a bit more depending on travel time involved
- Quiet time
- Transporting children to school and other activities
- Lawn & garden care
- Keeping vehicles clean and maintained
There are many other activities. How are we to get control of our lives? This is a big question for many. Work runs many. Family runs others. As Christians, we’re no different. In fact, we can have a worse time, because we have spiritual needs and obligations added to all the rest, so our lot can be, actually, worse than that of others, unless we get some things straight. How are we to order our lives, or prioritize our lives? How can we get everything done that we need to get done in our lives? We need to understand our priorities, and work around them.
Matt.6.33- gives us our big, over-arching thrust of our lives. We are to be seeking God’s Kingdom. This is to be a dominating concern of our lives. Now, your neighbour might not have to worry about this. He/she might give no concern to the matters of God’s Kingdom and family. However, you, because God has interfered in your life and brought you into His family, have to be concerned about Kingdom matters. This gives us all a dominating concern for our lives. But where do we go from this? This seeking first is all well and good, but how does it translate into reality as we go through our days? How does it translate into handling all these things we have to do, and handling them as well as, or better, than the unbelievers who might live around us?
I believe Jesus answers this in the two great commandments He gave us for our lives, and He shows us how to prioritize our lives in a way that works and actually simplifies our lives.
Matt.22.36-39- we see our first areas of concern, which tell us where we need to focus in our lives.
First of all, we have to love God. So, our first priority in life is God. This is a hard one, sometimes, because we have so many other things going on and we can devolve into giving Him only the scraps and leftovers of our lives. We can lean on expressions like, “He’ll understand”, and the like, to justify this approach. However, WE need a relationship with God. He isn’t the needy one- we are- you/me/ everyone. The sooner we understand and accept this, the better it is for us all. The apostle Paul tells us that there will be difficulties, because of other matters of life that get in the way.
1 Cor. 7.32-33- this is simply a reality of life. However, it doesn’t change the reality of the need to focus on God, first. Whether it’s a wife or husband, job, schooling, or church or volunteer opportunity you have, that forms a big part of your life, your first priority, under the giant umbrella of seeking first the kingdom of God and God’s righteousness if to develop your relationship with God. God, in a well-ordered life, will be first.
Let me be clear, that this does not refer to church activities, parachurch activities, volunteer opportunities in the church, and the like. This is referring solely to the relationship with God- to your developing that relationship.
So, for you, work can’t be first, wife/husband can’t be first, children can’t be first, and church can’t be first. God must be first, and all others will find security and comfort about you when they see that reality. What do you need to do? That is for you to figure out. What do you need to do in order to have a good relationship with God? What time do you need to devote to God? I can’t speak for you, but I can tell you what I’ve done for 30 and more years. I’ve worked backward from when I need to be going out the door or from an activity- even making breakfast. I want a certain amount of time to pray and to be in the Word of God. So, I need to get up that much sooner in order to accommodate those. If I don’t do this in the morning, I don’t do as well at any other time of the day. I have quiet times with God throughout the day, but the major one is in the morning, for me. Some days, this has meant that I’ve had to get up at 5 a.m. or 5.30- normally, it’s about 6 a.m., in order to let Him know that He’s first in my life and that’s the way I want it to be. It’s good for me to cement this early in the day, as well. You might handle this differently, of course, but handle it you must, or else your life will be out-of-control. For us, as Christians, this means that the other end of our day is affected, too. If we find that we have to get up earlier, then we have to go to bed earlier, too- all to be certain of time for that primary relationship in our lives.