First things first ... that is one of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It reflects the ability to put things in right order ... doing the more important things first. It is the ability to set priorities.
The word "priority" was first recorded in 1387. We do not get "priorities" until 1970 and "prioritize" until 1973. Think of that. It is only in our lifetime that we have tried to place values judgments on what should be first in our lives! It is only since the 1970s that we have been managing so many competing things that we coined a word for the process: "priorities".
13 Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."
14 Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?" 15Then he said to them, "Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions."
16 And he told them this parable: "The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. 17 He thought to himself, 'What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.'
18 "Then he said, 'This is what I'll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I'll say to myself, "You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry." '
20 "But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?'
21 "This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God."
First things first ... setting proper priority on things.
The "certain rich man" in this story had a prior thing ... he had something in the front of everything else. He had his world ordered. He was first on his list! He was all he saw. He was the prior thing.
Being the priority left little room for anyone else. This was a dark choice that he apparently did not notice. He was unable to see God or the effect of God in His life. As in most things, there is usually a cause AND effect. To see the effect without realizing the Cause can be devastating (see verse 20).
Being the priority also meant he could not see others. We are never told that he considered sharing or giving any portion of his increase to the less fortunate or to his servants or even to his friends. He wanted it all for himself. His goal was to eat, drink and be merry.
Most of us think through our priorities. We make lists and put those things in some form of order. There is nothing wrong with this ... it is survival in an information age.
But, is it possible to have a list of priorities and suffer from a lack of priority? Is it possible to get the list all right but be all wrong because we are missing the most important thing?
What is your priority? What comes first?
We can use how we treat others as a gauge for this. The Scriptures teach us that we are not to kid ourselves, if we say God is our priority but it does not show up in our love and care for others then we are mistaken and our priority is not what we think it is.
The certain rich man found out too late ... we do not have to.
DevoLink: Devotions to help you Link with God.
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