These days I think we are ALL pretty busy. Life pulls at us from many different directions. I don't know about you but between work, home, and church, MY schedule gets pretty full. Then I look at the life of a teen today. They are expected to learn and do far more these days than I EVER did!
School occupies much of their schedule. Then add in homework, a job, driver training, softball practise, play practice, baby sitting. You get the idea. But wait! There's more! I forgot to add in all the stress of grades, finals, all the drama associated with high school relationships, family expectations & chores . . . it's not easy. What we all need, but especially teens, is a well-adjusted set of priorities.
I was talking to the mother of a teen that USED TO attend youth group every Wednesday. The mother was very apologetic saying, "Susie will come back to youth group once basketball season is over." Guess what. Susie never came back to youth group. God was not a priority in her life.
Before I knew Jesus my priorities were much like most of the teens I encounter these days - even in my 50's! Most of the adults I know have the same, whacked-out priority system too. Our priorities are focused on worldly things and not on God. The funny thing is, if we'd only focus on God and make Him our #1 priority, our lives would be made SO much simpler.
My life used to be all about me. I had a good job and a great family. I even saved up enough money to buy myself a really fast car. But God was nowhere in the picture. Since answering God's calling however, my priorities have changed. Like an underdog race horse, God came from WAY behind in my "priority race" to take the lead in dramatic style. Work began to become less important. I sold the car. My family, while still extremely important, dropped from first to second place. I prioritized my life, and made God first.
Then something really amazing happened.
As soon as my relationship with Jesus became a priority, all the other areas of my life began to improve. The relationship with my wife got better, my relationship with my children and my friends all improved. And I began gaining more and more new friends as God's Holy Spirit led me to volunteer in our community. Hmm.
I believe that God blesses those who honor Him with their obedience. Hey, it's biblical!
"Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart." - Psalm 119:2
The decisions we make when we assign priorities to things and people in our lives run through "filters" - the filter of our hearts, the filter of our minds, and for the Christian, the filter of the Holy Spirit. The things that are most important to us get the highest priorities. We can place great importance on our jobs but what does that gain us? More money perhaps. A bigger house or . . . in my case, a fast car. But fast cars wear out quickly. Houses can collapse or get destroyed in a storm. Even making family and friends our number one priority can cause problems through disappointments and hurt feelings. Only when we place our faith in Christ, and make HIM our #1 priority, does everything else make sense. Only then does everything seem to fall into place.
Sometimes though, such prioritizing comes with a cost. Placing God first in our lives can cost us relationships with friends and even family members. Becoming a Christian has led to being dishonored in some countries of the world. Even martyred! A tremendous cost can sometimes be made for our priorities.
For Jesus there are TWO priorities. Only two.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Matthew 22:36-39
Those should be our priorities as well. God first, others second and we should be last. Why? Why should we place our selves last?
"But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first." - Matthew 19:30
Because we all will stand before Jesus one day and we WILL be judged.
"For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil." - 2 Corinthians 5:10
We have been given our priorities, in Christ, in that verse from Matthew 22. Each of us must examine ourselves, daily, to see how OUR priorities line up with our Heavenly Father's. I'm not sure about you, but when I get to heaven, I LONG to hear Jesus say to me, "Well done, good and faithful servant." May the same thing be said of you.