The proper priorities in a Christian’s life are: God, Family, Work, Church, Ministry, Community
God comes first, above even family, forsaking father and mother if need be we are to follow Jesus (Luke 14:25-27; Matt. 10: 34-37).
Family comes before Work. Many a work-a-holic will tell you how they wish now they had realized this before it was too late and career robbed them of what was truly the more precious elements in their lives.
Work comes before Church for a man’s work is his means to support the higher priority of family. (1 Tim. 5:8).
Church is before Ministry, because the one who ministers must have a base of personal spiritual nourishment and accountability, a recourse when persecuted, discouraged, in need, or bewildered. (Luke 4:16; Acts 15).
Ministry is above Community because it is by one’s ministry one serves best both church and community. Church-sent missionaries may serve in communities far from home.
At times urgencies of a lesser priority may cause it to supersede a higher priority but only temporarily, till the urgency has passed. In general though, these are the priorities that sound study of the whole counsel of scripture sets forth.
A word to the over-zealous is also necessary here. Do not think it virtuous of yourself to run your body ragged in the service of these priorities. It is often one of the more difficult lessons for a Christian to learn that praiseworthy stewardship includes stewardship of oneself as well as all these. You have given your life to the Lord just as He has given His life to you. “You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Cor. 6:20)
It is not for you to push your body to exhaustion, ignore necessary exercise, healthful diet, adequate sleep. Jesus too saw the need for a slow pace, seasons of solitude, wholesome meals, healthful rest, and social interactions.
We see Jesus taking His time to be in the present moment with each need that came to Him. We see Him “rising up a great while before day,” and going to “a solitary place,” to pray, We see Him walking daily, eating such things as fish, bread, honey, figs and other fruits. We see Him catching a nap as the disciples rowed, and from the onset of His ministry interacting daily with the twelve.
All this while Jesus ordered His life in keeping with the priorities listed above. As always, He is our great example.
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