I’m such a task oriented person – I love to rock the lists and look to the next item to accomplish! Whether it’s mowing my lawn, remodeling something worn down to give it a fresh look, or even cleaning the dishes – deep down I feel a deep satisfaction when crossing off an item. Why? Because I see the progress every swath I take, new piece of flooring I lay, or dirty dish that becomes a sparking thing of beauty. To me, lists are about action, accomplishment, and seeing progress! Making lists (and seeing the items scratched out) bring deep satisfaction because they are how I map out my time, money, focus, my priorities.
This word, “priorities,” can bring some sense of confusion for me, because at times it sends me in multiple directions all at once. I feel as though I am not doing enough, because let’s face it, there is always more that could be done.
I have read that the plural form of the word — “Priorities” — was not even in use before the 1940’s. Before that time, a more common use of the word was in the singular, PRIORITY, and this word was used intentionally to define “the prime thing” on which to focus. This really intrigues me because I tend to list things as priorities in my day, asking myself what is the most important thing first, and then what’s next, and what’s next, etc.
When I start listing out my priorities in order of importance, all of the sudden the lists screams at me that EVERYTHING should be important, and I buckle down and try to do it all! I don’t know about you, but I can end up becoming overwhelmed by all that I HAVE to do, ending up exhausted or even stagnant – not really accomplishing much at all. The list usually has items unfinished at the bottom.
When everything is important, nothing is important.
This conundrum brings me to ask the question: What should be priority? With so many good things in life that we are called to do, how do I balance it all? But what if we’re not supposed to balance it all? What if I’m asking the wrong question?
God has been so gracious to not leave us nor forsake us to figure out life on our own! He has given us the gift of His Word to guide our path. David faced simpler days when he was a shepherd versus when he was a king, and the Word describes David as a “man after God’s own heart.” No doubt he juggled the craziness of life as a King and the decisions he had to make each day. I often wonder if he longed for those days of quiet in the open fields as he watched over his sheep. I can imagine in a place of rest and closeness to the Lord, David penned the “One Thing” prayer:
“One thing have I asked of the Lord , that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” ~ Psalm 27:4
David sought one goal – to be in the presence of the Lord. His request was one of a deep desire of worship – acknowledging the Lord’s place of priority in his life.
This is my personal desire too – that I would have a list daily with one item on it – knowing Christ! How often I fill my day with so many other things from the very beginning of the day, and then I realize at the end of the day how little I’ve communed with my Savior, when He is the best thing!
“…Whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” ‘ John 4:14
God gives me His very Word to know Him deeper. He gave me His Spirit to guide my every thought, word, and deed. I’ve been given fellowship with His body to spur me on in my faith, and Christ calls me to go into every situation proclaiming the Gospel to all I meet. I cannot do this without being first filled with Him, for all I have to offer to others of myself is an empty well.
This is my personal prayer for today – that I may seek Him first and long for a deeper understanding of Christ and His ways. Also, my prayer for the church is that we as Christians would not simply make a list of things are we are going to accomplish in our days, but that we would:
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to [us].” ~Matthew 6:33
May you your list today be simple and focused – with just one entry: Knowing Christ.