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FIRST-PERSON: Here’s one priority in life that can shape all the rest

EULESS, Texas (BP)–What are your top priorities? Work, extracurricular activities, religion, family? All of the above take up time in our days, our months and our years.

But how do we balance these “priorities” of life? What do we place first, then second, third and so on? Many tools help us in our attempt to maximize both our time and our potential while keeping our priorities straight: organizers, day runners, calendars, personal PCs.

But is there anything that can truly simplify our lives and keep us going in the right direction? I believe there is.

A simple statement changes the way that we can operate our lives. This statement provides for us two things — simplicity and the right priority. From it, we can live our lives fully, we can establish the right priorities for our homes, and we can organize all of our extracurricular activities.

This statement comes from the lips of Jesus, and we find his words in Matthew 6. Jesus said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” In his powerful words, Jesus reveals truth that we should hold on to. From his words, we discover how to put “first things first” both in life and in our homes.

The first thing Jesus exposes is that we should resist making “popular priorities” THE priority. Many things pull our lives and homes apart. Many of these things are good things. For instance, work, sports, money, careers, health and education are all good things in and of themselves. And these aspects of life are real parts of our daily experience. They are not necessarily evil or destructive. But these things should never replace the best in life: seeking the Kingdom of God and his righteousness. Here lies our priority.

But what does “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness” mean? How is this our priority both in life and at home? To answer this question, we look at two words: kingdom and righteousness.

Jesus said that life’s priority lay in aggressively putting God in his rightful first place and then relying on him to take care of the rest. Jesus identified that priority by using a common phrase that had an uncommon meaning. When Jesus spoke of, “the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” he had something specific in mind. The word “kingdom” meant “rule.” And the word translated “righteousness” had to do with a slave doing what the master said and relying on the master for everything. Jesus wants us to release control of our lives to God and rely on him to take care of us. That sets our priority. Jesus says that our priority is to aggressively put God in his first place. In other words, calendars and events do not rule our lives; rather God rules our lives.

What does this look like? Get the Bible and the calendar and go to God. Affirm that your priority is God in his first place in your life and home. Declare God is in control and then release control of your family to him. Declare that he is trustworthy and you will rely on him that day. Then ask him to govern the affairs that will affect your family and let him guide you. Then when we are faced with changes, the first question isn’t, “What do I want or what is best for my family?” The first question is, “What does God want?” That question acknowledges that the first thing is indeed first in our homes.

When I think about the words of Christ, life becomes both lucid and simple. Amidst the turmoil, change and challenges that life offers each of us, if we passionately pursue putting God in his rightful first place and rely on him to take care of the rest, we will find that our lives, our homes and our world will find that THE priority takes care of all the rest.
Thomas is pastor of First Baptist Church, Euless, Texas. For more resources by Thomas, visit Lifepoints at www.firstonthe.net.

    About the Author

  • Claude Thomas