Setting Priorities

Better a little with the fear of the Lord
    than great wealth with turmoil.

Better a small serving of vegetables with love
    than a fattened calf with hatred.

  • Proverbs 15:16-17

“What makes keeping to my priorities easier is consciously listening to God’s voice, my [spouse’s] voice, and my own voice as they resonate within my heart.  This requires ignoring the voice of media and peer pressure and filtering out the you-shoulds from well-meaning but ill-informed sources.”

  • Liz Curtis Higgs, In the Long Run, an essay from God’s Abundance, edited by Kathy Collard Miller

Yesterday, I looked at stuff, but today, I suppose I am looking at time – a focus on what determines our priorities.

In listening to God’s Voice, we not only do good for others, we prepare ourselves for our heavenly reward by becoming closer to the person God wants us to model after, Jesus.  This goes far beyond any concept of doing good, but of being good.

In listening to our spouse, we get in touch with the immediate needs in our lives.  In some cases, what is said is not the need, but it points to the need.  My wife and I have had some very tough discussions lately.  My wife is going through an inner turmoil that scares her, but when asked what I should do, the answer is always a deflection from the elephant in the room.  We need to negotiate those wrong turns and provide the comfort, caring, and peace that our spouse really desires.

In listening to our own voice, we need to guard against self-centeredness.  When my wife and I had the flu this past Spring, my wife had an additional complication, a return of the atrial fibrillation problem that arose with her new heart valve.  This sent her to the hospital.  Yes, she was sicker than I was, but she was being taken care of by a squadron of nurses who wore masks or entire disposable clothing suits to prevent getting the flu.  I, on the other hand, drove home each night to take care of things there and back to the hospital each morning.  I sat in uncomfortable chairs that activated one of the worst cases of sciatica that I’ve ever had, not to mention a major hemorrhoid attack.  Please, no comments, I said not to mention it.  In trying to take care of my wife and ‘be there for her,’ I neglected myself.

Yet, most theologians will say that the human experience is the opposite.  We become too self-centered, and thus lose contact with God.  What is a relationship with someone with whom you have lost contact?  Not much of one and in many cases with old friends, a lost relationship.

Now, let’s look at Ms. Higgs’ things to ignore.  “The Media.”  The book containing this quote from an essay was published in 2002, long before the term ‘fake news’ was a thing.  News has always gone with what the news bosses think sells, sensationalism and generally bad news.  If what we hear on the news is common, as they seem to be reporting and wanting us to believe, then … sit down for this statement:  “Doing something GOOD should be newsworthy!!!!”

We hear of peer pressure among teen-agers, but it never stops.  Have you ever had a boss who added a few thousand dollars to your minimum estimate because he knew that the customer was desperate?  Has your boss given you a direct order to lie to the customer?  These are fresh on my mind, but I am sure that you have had similar experiences in your line of work – for those that are working for someone else.  Some companies, it seemed all that I worked for, think bullies make great bosses.  They supposedly get more out of their employees.

And finally, those you-shoulds from well-meaning people who are ill-informed.  (I love the three hyphens in one sentence.  They tell the story.)  Have you ever had one too many friends?  You know, that one person that always has a solution to your problems that make your problems worse if you go along with the idea?  I thought so.  I drop one and another takes his/her place, if not a half dozen of them.  Should we stop them?  After all, they THINK they are being do-gooders.

Who can you trust?  God loves you.  He’s there for you.  He is faithful and won’t let you down.  Go to Him in prayer.  Study His Holy Word, the Bible, and see what He has to say.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

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