What are You Prioritizing?
It is early Monday morning, and you have a moment of stillness. You sit down at the kitchen table to go over your schedule for the week. One kid has sports practice, another tutoring, and number three has a tournament over the weekend. Your spouse has two evening work dinners, and you are stuck driving kids 1–3 all over town. It’s a busy week and weekend, but you can manage. You’ve done it a hundred times.
Kid #1 gets a text message from their small group leader. “Hey! Hope to see you this Wednesday night for small group.” They ask, “Can I go?” As you look at the calendar, the answer is no; soccer practice then homework.
You get an email from your group leader asking you if you and your family will be joining them for dinner and discussion about this past weekend’s message. As you look at the calendar, the answer is no; work dinners and kids tutoring.
Your leader asks if they’ll see you Sunday at church. Again, the answer is no; sports tournament. As you begin to think about, you realize this is the third week in a row where you’ve missed any church activities.
Your schedule has overtaken your life.
Quite a few years ago, I was listening to Jim Dahlke preach a message at Collective. Now, I couldn’t tell you what the message was about, or the passage of Scripture Jim was teaching [Sorry Jim]. However, one statement he made has stuck with me all these years. He said,
“A good thing can become a bad thing when it becomes a god thing.”
It is a statement that applies to so many different facets of our life. Many times, entirely unrealized by ourselves. Think about it this way. You’re the parent in the story above, and your kid is super involved in any type of extra-curricular activity. This activity requires practice every day after school, weekend tournaments, travel, etc. you name it. You find yourself unable to attend church, small group, or weekend retreats because your child’s activity consumes yours and their time.
You may be thinking, “but I don’t worship my kid’s activities.” When they take the place of God in your life, you do. I know that might have been harsh, but it is the truth. Any good thing in our life becomes a bad thing when we idolize it more than God. For those of you who can’t relate to the story above, you can substitute kid’s sports or dance programs with work, a relationship, or anything else. When something consumes all of our time and energy and places God on the back burner, it has now become something we idolize.
When something consumes all of our time and energy and places God on the back burner, it has now become something we idolize.
Now, sports, relationships, work, you name it, they are all good things. But we live in a culture that tells us if we aren’t on the best team, we won’t get the best scholarship. If we aren’t in a relationship, then somehow, we are not a “whole person.” If we don’t work 60+ hours a week, we won’t get the promotion or status at work we strive to achieve. If we don’t fill our lives and schedules to the max, then we are lazy. These things consume us, and we begin to prioritize them over our relationship with God.
1 John 5:21 says, “Dear Children, Keep yourself from idols.”
1 Corinthians 10:14 says, “Therefore, my dear friends, flee from idolatry.”
Colossians 3:5 says, “Put to death, therefore, anything that belongs to your earthly nature, which is idolatry.”
Scripture is full of passages about the dangers of idols. It’s mentioned 231 times. Safe to say it’s a big deal and a big “no-no” from God. So, how do we prevent the good things in our lives from becoming idols?
1. Pray. Ask God to reveal to you the things in your life that are keeping you from Him. (Psalm 51:10)
2. Evaluate your priorities. Start by looking at everything you do in a day. Identify what is urgent and what can wait and determine the value of each thing. What can you go without?
3. Reprioritize with God first. Align your schedule to be one that puts God above everything else. Block off the nights of small groups in your calendar, so you aren’t tempted to fill it with something else. Leave the sports tournament a day early so you can make it back to church. Adjust your schedule so you can spend an adequate amount of time in God’s Word.
4. Read The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer. It is an incredible book with many practical steps on how to eliminate hurry and busyness from our lives, reprioritizing our time with God. Plus, the entire Woodside Staff read it this spring. It’s a game-changer, I promise!
Lou Holtz said in a commencement speech at Notre Dame, “You can’t take your money, your sports career, your job, to heaven.” What are you trying to take with you? What are you trying to place before God? Let us be people who prioritize a relationship with God, above all else.