2005-04-05 - Priorities
Originally Published 1998-04-27
Matthew 22: 37-40, And He said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart. And with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.(NASB)
I met a guy on Saturday who was not in the greatest mood. We were at the car wash making our cars look nice, and he clearly did not like the way his car was being handled by the attendants. His car was not a real fancy car, but it was a nice car, I guess. However, his main comment was rather telling of where he placed his priorities. He turned to me and said, "I can't believe how they handle our cars; that's my pride and joy." I suppose I didn't have a great response for him. I smiled and kept walking, but I was thinking, "That's your pride and joy? How sad."
Sometimes conversations stick with you long after the verbal exchange has taken place and this has been one of those times for me. What is my pride and joy? Or, even more significant, what should my pride and joy be? The man at the car wash seemed like a nice friendly guy, and we talked for a little while as we were waiting for our cars. However, if I were to have more than a superficial conversation with him, I would not be able to contain myself. I would have to find a kind way of asking him how his priorities had become so messed up, that he placed such an importance and emphasis on a "thing." Cars get old and rust, a precious vase is a prime target for any flying object it seems, and those eight matching glasses, from the set you just bought, are soon to become seven matching glasses.
Things don't last, and we all know it too painfully. You probably know where I'm headed with this. There are things that last - and last eternally. In a general manner, I would simply label them "relationships". It seems that relationships are a worthy priority to put a significant emphasis upon, and even to make them our pride and joy. And don't misunderstand me here; obviously I mean our relationship with God, but also I mean our relationships one to another. Christ put the emphasis on both, in the verses stated above. We should strive toward no less a standard. Striving is often all we can do, but strive towards the higher standard we must. The wisdom of Francis de Sales is worth taking to heart in our relationships with each other: "Half an hour's listening is essential, except when you are very busy. Then a full hour is needed." May God grant us grace to have such a mindset in our priorities.
"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." Amy Carmichael
Soli Deo Gloria,