First Things First
This devotional was written by Jim Burns
Everything is permissible – but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible – but not everything is constructive. Nobody should seek his own good, but the good of others. —1 Corinthians 10:23-24
To persevere and keep our eyes focused on what is most important, we have to stay focused on our priorities. If we are too busy spinning plates and living in crisis mode, we will lose our way. Some of the finest people I know have struggled with their parenting and family life not because they didn’t have the proper priorities, but because they were too distracted and busy to live by their priorities. We get distracted with the nonessentials and let the most important things slip by.
I’ll never forget the wisdom Jack Hayford passed along one year at a Promise Keepers pastors’ conference at the Arizona Diamondback Stadium. I had been invited to speak at the conference and Jack was the ‘‘Pastor of Ceremonies.’’ A Christian leader worldwide for forty years, Jack is one of my heroes. Before taking the podium, I asked him, ‘‘Jack, what is your secret to longevity in leadership?’’
‘‘Jim, it’s not what I have chosen to do, it’s what I have chose not to do.’’
In other words, Jack has tried to keep his life from being too cluttered. He has put first things first. Isn’t that great advice for all of us?
Putting first things first means facing some tough choices. There are many good and even great issues, activities and causes that we can choose to invest our time in (even spiritual ones!), but that can result in keeping us from maintaining and strengthening our most important relationships.
When we get too busy, we tend to skim relationally and in so doing, those people who are most important to us end up with our leftovers in terms of time, attention and emotions. When we get too busy, our relationships suffer.
Perhaps, sometimes like me, you’ve learned the hard way the truth of this principle:
The unbalanced life will not be kind to the areas we neglect.
Today, I encourage you to take a few moments to reflect on your life, your schedule, and your relationships. Choose to seek balance in your life. Choose to put first things first.
1. Which of your most important relationships have suffered because of your busyness?
2. What tough choices do you need to make in order to put first things first in your life?
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