Priorities – Time

Time – that one commodity that we seem to never have enough of, but we all have the same amount of. We each have 24 hours in each day, and 7 days in each week. Why do some people seem to accomplish more with their time? It is a matter of priorities…

For most of us, earning a living consumes nearly a third of our time, and unfortunately it is taking more a more time to earn less and less real money. More and more families are now dependent on two incomes to make ends meet. Something has to give…

Let’s make a list of what has/needs to be done, and see where we spend our time:
1) Worship
2) Couple
3) Sex
4) Family
5) Work
6) Personal care
7) Community
8) Entertainment

Perhaps you are looking at this list and thinking that I have their order screwed up, but I believe that if we put the first four items in their proper place, the rest will fall into place.

1) Worship…
How can we call ourselves Christians if worshiping our gracious Lord is not a high priority in our lives? God has commanded us to take one day off every week for worship, rest, and fellowship with His people, and yet many Christians cheat Him out of worship time because they think they have “better” things to do. Is it any wonder our country and our society are in unprecedented moral decay? Worship also should include regular devotional and prayer time.

The first commandment is “You shall have no other gods before Me.” (Exodus 20:2) “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” (Deuteronomy 6:5) If we are placing ANYTHING ahead of God in our lives, we need to revisit our priorities.

2) Couple…
You spend LOTS of time together while you are dating, but after the “I-do’s” are said, you almost go our separate ways…often only passing each other somewhere in the house. Why is that? Isn’t your spouse the most important person in your life?

While you were dating, you couldn’t get enough of each other and you seemed to have EVERYTHING in common. Now, all you have in common is a house and a mortgage. What happened? It seems that you forgot number 3 – sex…

3) Sex…
Why did I put SEX as your number 3 priority? Tim and Beverly LeHaye, who are noted Christian writers and counselors, called SEXThe Act of Marriage” in a book by that same name. It is THAT important! The couple that prays together, plays together (has sex), stays together.

Sex is foundational to a successful marriage. The first couple – Adam and Eve, were commanded by God to “Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28), and when God instituted marriage, He said “Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall BECOME ONE FLESH“. (Genesis 2:24) The picture of “one flesh” is sexual union.

The Apostle Paul wrote: “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over he own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer, and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you ::because of your lack of self-control.” (1st Corinthians 7:3-5) Sex is NOT an optional activity for when you both “feel like it” or are “in the mood“. Sex must become a high priority in your marriage. It doesn’t get any clearer than that…

4) Family…
When we consign our children to others to raise, is it any wonder they grow up with all the WRONG values? When we marry and decide to have a family, we are making a commitment to raise those children, and yet how many parents are strangers to their own children? “School” is now starting at a much earlier age than even when I was raising my children, and these “schools” are today’s childcare facilities. We are allowing someone else to raise our children.

Our children…our families are one of our MOST important responsibility, not an afterthought…and our children should be involved with us in worshiping our Lord.

A friend of mine recently had identical twin boys, and I was asking her a few days ago about their childcare arrangements, because she works at the blood center where I donate blood. Her husband is a career firefighter, so he works 24 hours on, 48 hours off, which means he is HOME two days out of three. With their staggered schedules, at least one of them is home taking care of their children 90% of the time, and when their schedules conflict, one of the grandmas pitches in. They are raising their own children…

I am reminded of a picture I saw recently of a father with his young son. They were sitting by a pond, with their feet in the water…fishing. Dad was spending time with his son.
In all honesty, the comment I had to make was that “I was too busy earning a living to be a father to my children“. Is it any wonder that I have been estranged from them for over 16 years? I am reaping what I sowed while they were growing up…without me.

5) Work…
I know, that as you are reading this list, you are probably thinking “Steve, you must be out of your mind, placing work this far down on the list“. Maybe I am, but I am seeking to know the mind of God, not the priorities of man. “Work” is a supporting-actor for the first four priorities. Yes, work IS necessary, to be able to support your spouse and family, but the problem is that it more often is to support a “lifestyle“. Which is more important… relationships… or lifestyle? Far too many people sacrifice their relationships on the ALTAR of their lifestyle. Their LIFESTYLE has become their “god“. See #1…

They think they “have” to have that new status-symbol car, and they “have” to live in that exclusive golf and country-club community. They think they “have” to “keep up with the Jones“, and they are sacrificing their most-important – their relationships, on the ALTAR of their least-important – their lifestyle.

Don’t you think their spouse and children would rather have quality couple and family time, instead of that new car, or expensive (unaffordable) house? I certainly do…

6) Personal care…
Personal care is taking care of your health – your body – the temple of the Holy Spirit. Again, from the pen of the Apostle Paul: “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1st Corinthians 6:19-20)

Perhaps Christian would take better care of themselves if they understood this truth from God’s Word. I am not pointing fingers, because I am just a guilty as anyone. Personal care IS important…and it is really “temple maintenance“.

7) Community…
God exists in eternal community, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and He created us for community also. Our two most important “communities” are our church and our family. We are “relational” beings, and we can not thrive without relationships. What we do together is more important than what we do alone…

8) Entertainment…
Far too many people will place entertainment second only to their work. They work to afford their entertainment. Marriages get sacrificed on the ALTAR of entertainment, and families are destroyed by entertainment-addiction. Even if the whole family is home, each person is in their own corner with their TV or their computer. “Football-widow” is no misnomer, because some men are SO addicted to watching football on TV that they will skip social-occasions with their wife and family to watch that “big-game“.

Entertainment has become an obsession…an addiction, to the exclusion of everything else. By the time a couple gets to bed, they are too tired for what is important – couple-time – communication…sex.

Entertainment can also be a huge money-hog…the latest and biggest TV…the most expensive entertainment center…the most expensive stereo system, and addicts will work long hours and go into debt for those things, while sacrificing what is truly important.

Final thoughts…
I am sure that by now you are thinking that I have really lost my marbles, but I have seen first-hand the carnage that has been wreaked on couples and families by misplaced time-priorities. I have done some of it myself, as I mentioned earlier. If I could turn the hands of time back, there are things that I would do differently, but I can’t. I can’t get my family back, and I can’t raise my first wife from the dead. Yes, I have been there, done that, got the T-shirt, but I am not proud of it. I have lost a LOTTOO much.

I am in church every Sunday, unless I am too sick to go, and I have joined a fellowship group in our church, and even though it takes quite a bit a fuel every week to go there regularly, I wouldn’t miss it. There is also a monthly men’s fellowship, hosted by our assistant pastor, and it too is vitally-important to my spiritual-health. Those are my priorities…

If this brief article doesn’t do any more than prompt you to examine your own priorities, and see if they are aligned with God’s priorities, I will have succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. That is my hope and prayer for you…that by getting your time-priorities straight, you will be better able to help build up the body of Christ – His church, and that your marriage, your family, will be blessed by it. May you use your time wisely. I am only His humble messenger. To God be the glory, forever and ever, AMEN!

God bless!

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