May 6, 2011

Last Things First
Karen Ehman

"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Matthew 6:31-33 (NIV)

Devotion:
As a woman, do you wear a lot of hats? During the course of your week, you may place on your head any of the following hats: wife, mother, worker, daughter, sister, aunt, grandma, cook and bottle washer, chauffer, nurse, maid, counselor, referee, PTA member, committee chair, oh, yeah... and a woman of God.

Sometimes these hats are stacked so high that trying to balance them all on our pretty little heads sends us toppling completely over!!!

And sadly, often the last hat we place on top is the crown we wear as a daughter of the King.

I love the simple, straight shooting words of our Lord in Matthew 6. He cuts to the chase, breaking commands down into bite-sized chunks. He simply tells us gently, but firmly, what must be done for our lives to get in order. "But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well."

However simple these verses may be, sometimes fleshing them out into reality in our lives isn't always easy. Especially in today's society, a climate of frenzied activity breeds busyness.

Years ago, success was determined by where you lived and what you drove. Now it seems that success is measured differently — by how busy you are.

We have no white space left on our calendar; our kids are carted from one activity to the next; why we hardly even eat dinner as a family anymore. Something in us longs to "do more" by painting our lives in a bright, bold shade of busy.

Although we live in a much different time than the original recipients of Jesus' words, we can learn from them nonetheless. They were concerned about where their food and clothing would come from. While we may still have those concerns, there are other issues we fret over as well. Like how we will get the house cleaned, the kids bathed and dressed, the laundry done, the kids chauffeured, the marriage prioritized, the relative visited, the work project completed...and on and on it goes.

While our tasks may shriek at us at every turn, Christ stands whispering... Seek first My kingdom and My righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.

Perhaps His words will prompt us to do a little hat-reduction, ridding our schedules of some of the activities that clamor for our attention and draw us away from time spent with Him.

Whatever set of hats God directs you to keep in your wardrobe, remember to don them in proper order. They will only stay standing when the crown you wear as a daughter of the King is placed on first!

Dear Lord, I'm sorry for the times that my hats are completely out of order. May I seek You and the righteousness You offer me first every day before I attempt to carry out any of my God ordained responsibilities. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
To enter to win a busy moms giveaway including 5 Sanity-Saving Tips for Maxed-Out Moms and information about an upcoming online book & Bible study on organization visit Karen's blog.

The Complete Guide to Getting & Staying Organized by Karen Ehman

What does it mean to "leave your first love"? And more importantly, how can followers of Christ return to it again? Be inspired with First Love - a message on (DVD) by Karen Ehman

Application Steps:
Take a piece of paper and spend time alone with God for a few moments. Write in order what you would say your priorities are. An example might look something like this:

1. God
2. My husband
3. My children
4. My extended family members
5. My job
6. My friends
7. My commitments at church and in the community

Next, take a painstakingly honest look at how you spend your time. Does it accurately reflect what you say your priorities are? Are you allowing a number 6 or 7 to take precedence over a 1 or 2?

Reflections:
What are some commitments that I could bow out of in order to make more white space on my calendar and more time for God and my family? I'll have a friend hold me accountable to do so.

Power Verses:
Psalm 31:14-15a, "But I trust in you, O LORD; I say, 'You are my God. My times are in your hands...'" (NIV)

Psalm 70:4, "But may all who seek you rejoice and be glad in you; may those who love your salvation always say, 'Let God be exalted!'" (NIV)

© 2011 by Karen Ehman. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries
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Matthews, NC 28105
www.Proverbs31.org