“But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”– Matthew 6:33
Growing up, a phrase I would hear from my parents was “first things first.”
- I would eye the chocolate cake that was for dessert. “First things first…eat your vegetables.” (awwwww!!!!)
- I would want to go out and play with my friends. “First things first. Mow the lawn” (Oh, come on!!!)
- I would want to watch TV. “First things first. Do your homework and then practice your saxophone.” (sigh…)
- I would want to buy something. “First things first. Set aside your offering and your savings.” “But Mom, that means I won’t have enough to buy it until next week!” “Yep. That’s what it means.”
First things first. As much angst as those words caused me when growing up, I now am grateful for the habits they have ingrained in me; habits that I hope my own kids learn.
God gives us the power to choose, and to determine how we live. While that freedom is wonderful, as people of faith it means that we also have responsibility for choosing how we will live and how we will follow. It means that we need to learn to prioritize. What is first in our lives? In how we spend our time? In how we spend our resources?
My parents taught me that the important things my life should not receive the “leftovers.” We start with those things, and then we fill in with the rest. Prioritizing is a matter of determining what comes first.
My hope is that in my life, before anything else, I show love to God, and love to my neighbor. That is what Jesus commanded. And if that is my priority, then everything else in my life: My time, my resources, my energy, will align behind that priority.
Let it be so, for me, and for you!
Prayer: God of love, You remind us to seek first your Kingdom. Please give us the wisdom to make this true in our lives. Amen.
(Note: This devotion first appeared in Trinity’s fall, 2016 devotional booklet that was distributed as a part of our “A Story to Tell” campaign.)