Life is like a buffet. There are so many things we need and want to do that narrowing it down can be overwhelming. We are only limited by the size of the plates. Even then, on a buffet you can get a second plate… Unfortunately, we don’t get the option to have a second plate in life. We just have the one, so we need to fill up wisely.
So how do we choose? It comes down to priorities. For me, if there is fruit on the buffet, it automatically has a place on my plate. So personally, I need to make sure that Christianity is my fruit. No matter what else I get, it’s automatically in, and I work everything else around it. Making that happen in life isn’t always easy.
I am so thankful that I grew up in a home where God was a priority. Movie choices were centered around what was decent to watch. What I read was what God would be pleased with. That didn’t mean everything I read was religious in nature, but my free reading was in line with our beliefs. I remember once I was so excited about a book based on a movie we liked that I couldn’t wait to read it. I started it as soon as we got home from the bookstore. By that evening it was in the trash can, because it was not something I felt comfortable reading. I still think about those books and regret what could have been, but I wouldn’t change what I did.
It isn’t just the individual choices that are tricky though. If I didn’t start at the fruit I might crowd out its spot on my plate, so that’s always where I start. In life, if we don’t decide that God gets dedicated time and other things fit in, it’s so easy to run out of time. It might be sports, a cookout, or studying.
I went through college and graduate school for physical therapy which, I promise you, is not for the faint of heart. There were plenty of times that I could have used those extra hours on Sunday to study. I struggled throughout school with trying to keep studying from completely overwhelming my life, and I wasn’t always successful. There are occasions, like work responsibilities that can’t be altered, sickness, or family duties that must be taken care of, that I don’t believe fall in this category. However, we need to pay attention to the extras, and even sometimes moderate things that are also important.
Matthew 6:33 says, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Our firm commitments need to be to God. If we are tackling life with the constant mindset of keeping the faith, then all the other things will fall into place. We have to keep focused on what’s most important.
It ultimately comes down to what is at our core. If asked to describe yourself, what would you say? Would being a Christian be the first thing you mention? Would it be included at all? Matthew 12:35 teaches, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.” What is innermost ultimately decides what we will choose when the choices get difficult. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Keep your heart with all diligence, For out of it spring the issues of life.”
But what about when it’s something we really really want to do? Sometimes the five year old voice creeps into my adult head and starts to whine about the movie I don’t get to see or the time I don’t get to spend crocheting. Luke 12:34 has the answer to this: “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What is important to us is what we find ourselves thinking about, planning for, and making happen. When it consistently isn’t God, maybe it’s time to refocus.
There will be times when we don’t get to do everything we want to do, and it is disappointing. It’s hard to accept, but sometimes that’s how life is. We can keep God the priority and still work in things we want to. Along the way, let’s encourage each other, and let’s all take responsibility for keeping our hearts where they should be. First things first!
May the Lord bless and keep you,