Discipleship Scripture Team Building


October 24, 2010

Today we are in the second week of our current series all about getting life in order by setting priorities.  

Let me just be honest and up front and go ahead and admit that I’m good at this.  Its not boasting to acknowledge you’re good at something, and I am definitely good at setting priorities and sticking to them, it goes with being somewhat obsessive-compulsive.  I am very clear about what I do with my time and what’s on my “to do” list.  And what’s not. This morning a very nice lady came up to tell me she’s angry with me, because I did not meet an expectation she had formed about me and what (she thought) I should have been doing.  She was very respectful about it, and I even appreciated why she would have formed the expectation she had formed.  But I have found that my agenda and my schedule must be determined by my priorities…even when there are many good things I could be doing instead…even when I know I will not be meeting everyone’s expectations for my time…even if someone gets angry with me.

The flip side of this very point is, of course, that I’ve got to make sure I have the right priorities. Jesus was clear where we should start:

Seek first the kingdom of God
and all these things will be given you besides.
Luke 12.31
God goes first on the list and then everything else comes next. Keeping God at the top of the list requires daily quiet time, first of all.  But it also needs to include weekly worship with my church family, sacrificial giving as part of my worship, and service to others (especially the poor) as a way of honoring God. Beyond these specifics, I keep God a priority in my life by honoring him increasingly in all the areas of my life.
The next priority needs to be me.  I cannot really fulfill other priorities or help anyone else if I’m not exercising proper self-care. This is about health, diet and exercise, balance in my schedule, and maintaining a nurturing environment to live and work in.  To take care of myself I need to push myself to keep learning and growing, I need to make sure that my emotional life is being looked after and regulated, I need safeguards to remain authentic, with the various parts of my life and personality properly integrated.  That is why a Small Group experience is so important.  
The next priority is family and friends.  These are the people near us, most obviously the people we live and work with.  If you’re married, at the top of this list comes your spouse, then your children, your grandchildren, parents, siblings, other family members as well as others you love. I believe this priority should also include your church family.  Maintaining this priority is going to be about spending time together, mindfulness of their needs, support and affection. 
Right here at the top of our priority list is also going to be work. Work is part of God’s plan for us, work is in the design from the very beginning in the Garden of Eden (it only became burdensome and arduous after Original Sin).  My work, the job I do, as well as other kinds of commitments that require my time and talent (like coaching or crafts, even housework and laundry) honor God by using the gifts he’s given me wisely and well.
These priorities were set for us by the Lord himself, they form the pattern of his life. 
He spent time alone in prayer, he worshiped in the temple and made the temple offering, he served the poor and honored God in everything else he did too.
He took time off, rested when tired, set boundaries for himself.
He spent time with his family, he was obedient to his parents, one of his last acts was to provide for his mother.  He had many good friends and invested in them too.
He undertook his work in a discipled way and accomplished all he set out to do.
That’s the pattern we want to be following.  
Think about your priorities and how well they are reflected in the patterns of your life.

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