If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. James 1:5
Never before has a generation been confronted with so many choices, and when you go with one, like it or not, you establish priorities. You have to decide which comes first. Establishing priorities and sticking to them is growing more difficult all the time.
How do you decide what comes first?
You have been asked to attend a conference the same weekend you have a chance to get away with your family for a week end of relaxation. Getting to attend the conference appeals to you, but your family wants you with them. How do you decide?
The following guidelines will help you arrange choices in order of priorities. Six questions help you decide what should be a priority and what can wait.
Question #1: Which of these choices contributes most to the well-being of my family? Or if my family is not a priority, then which is most consistent with my life purpose and objective? In the will of God, duties don’t conflict. There are times when attending a conference is important. There are other times when being at your son’s game is the most important thing in your life, and—yes—there are times when even mundane tasks--housekeeping chores like balancing the budget--become a priority.
Question #2: Can I do what I would like to do without hurting those closest to me? The person who lives with only his interests at heart is selfish, yet balancing family with work-related responsibilities demands looking at the broader picture. So what if you succeed in business or ministry and lose your family in the process?
Question #3: If I don’t do this, will it go undone, or does it really matter? The reality is that you can’t do everything. Saying “yes” to one opportunity means saying “no” to another. Have you asked yourself if Jesus healed everyone in his ministry? Or did He, on occasion, walk away from invitations to go somewhere and speak when His priority was quiet time for prayer or recuperation? In evaluating your priorities, never respond out of guilt, but look at the whole picture. Yes, if you don’t do something, no one else may, either, but then if it goes undone, how critical is that?
Question #4: Is this the best use of my time, energies, and resources? I can pack my suitcase and head overseas four to five times a year multiplied by an unknown factor of how many years I have to do this, so whenever I say “yes” to an invitation, I want to make certain that this the best use of my time, my energies (which are not unlimited, so I have learned) and certainly my resources, which can easily be depleted.
Question #5: Am I willing to neglect something else to do what I would like to do? There are always some things which you prefer doing, and doing the dislikable chore or task isn’t necessarily required of you; however, life is often a matter of getting up, doing the routine, and repeating the same tasks day after day. Breaking out of the norm is fun and exciting, but there is a price to pay which you cannot ignore in deciding what shall be your priorities.
Question #6: Have I prayed for wisdom in deciding what comes first? James, the half brother of Jesus Christ, wrote, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).
Long ago Scripture advised, “Help us to redeem our time because the days are evil.” If ever that were true, it’s true today. God, help us to decide well.
Resource reading: John 7:40-8:1