John 10:10, 15:5 | Luke 5:15-16 | Philippians 4:13
Save a face palm emoji…with priorities!
It’s a day like any other. But then…you look at your calendar, and DUNT, dunt, DUNNN! Horror of horrors: you’re DOUBLE BOOKED!! (Add scream sound effect here.)
How did this happen? You’re so careful… Oh, if only you could be two places at once!
But you can’t. So what do you do? You pick one. Then you start thinking of the most tactful way to break the news to the hosts of the losing event.
While no one wants to suffer this fate, there is an upside: when you choose one activity over another, you are practicing prioritization. ‘Prior’ means ‘before,’ so prioritizing is just deciding what comes before what. It’s kind of like a real life game of Would You Rather.
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”John 10:10 NIV
Jesus wants you to have a full life–though not necessarily a full schedule. During his ministry, he was often pressed by crowds of followers to keep preaching and healing. How did he respond to such pressure?
But despite Jesus’ instructions, the report of his power spread even faster, and vast crowds came to hear him preach and to be healed of their diseases. But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.Luke 5:15-16 NLT
He took time off from his schedule. What did he do in his time off? He prayed. Jesus realized the source of his strength was his connection to his Father.
Paul, in similar fashion, realized the source of his own strength as Jesus.
For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.Philippians 4:13 NLT
When your schedule is bearing down on you, do you know the source of your strength?
“Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.”John 15:5 NLT
Apart from Jesus, you can do nothing. You cannot be a Christian and do the good works God prepared for you without him. He is the source of your strength.
That pushes prayer and reading scripture to the top of your To Do List! Should you plan to have “quiet time” every morning at 5:00am? Maybe–if you can stay awake.
The true test of any priority is if–not when–it gets accomplished. You may put your shoes on after you eat breakfast, but when push comes to shove, which is a higher priority? Well…which would you do without? You might skip breakfast, but you won’t show up barefoot. Putting on shoes is a higher priority.
Even if you are not up before dawn with a Bible in your hand and dirt on your knees, is praying and reading scripture a priority? When things get hectic, do you still do it?
Tap into the source of your strength and prioritize your most important relationship. Otherwise, you might find your time managing you.
Questions for Group Discussion
- Can you give an example of a high priority item? (Other than reading the Bible and praying…) Is this something that could rarely–if ever–be dropped from your To Do List?
- Why would scripture reading and prayer be such a high priority item on a Christian’s list?
- Does it seem legalistic to prioritize scripture reading and prayer? Why or why not? If it seems constrictive, why is that so? How does Colossians 1:13-14 affect your opinion on the matter?
Challenge: Would You Rather NOT
Sometimes you have to choose. This is one of those times.
When you make priorities, you have to make choices. It comes with the territory. We want to help you…through practice!
- Answer the “Would You Rather NOT” questions below. You’re practicing prioritization!
- Then write a first draft Daily Priority List. More practice!
You’ve probably played Would You Rather, but this is Would You Rather NOT–in which you choose which daily activity you can live without. For BONUS POINTS, mix and match the items to form new questions!
Which would you rather NOT do? Decide which of the following you could most easily do without.
- Brush your teeth OR Bathe
- Fix your hair OR Eat breakfast
- Drink a glass of water OR Change your stained shirt
- Check your messages OR Read scripture
- Pack your lunch OR Make your bed
- Meet any friends OR Post on social media
- Internet shopping OR Finish up last night’s homework
- Have any snacks OR Drink any sodas
- Exercise OR Play any video games
- Take any photos OR Send any text messages
- Eat dinner OR Use a laptop, phone, or tablet
- Pray OR Watch TV
- Go out with friends OR Prepare for a project due tomorrow
- Feed your pet OR Talk on the phone
- Get 6+ hours of sleep OR Finish an epic movie