Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
by: Shannon Green
Being a teacher, the start of a new school year always feels like a fresh start. I would say that September feels more like a new year to me than January does. I love nothing more than getting some new pens and coloured markers and cracking open a new agenda. It feels like a blank slate and a way to start over, getting my priorities straight and new strategies in place. It gets me thinking, what are God’s priorities for me and how can I make sure that I am making time for them?
The Bible is clear that God and our relationship with Him should be our number one priority. Matthew 6:33 says “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 22:37-38 says, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment”. It is clear that God wants our first priority to be Him. In planning my week, I should be able to answer: when am I spending time in relationship with Him, reading His word, spending time in prayer and worship?
God is also clear through His word that we are to spend time loving others. Again, in Matthew 22:39, Jesus goes further to say that the second commandment is love your neighbour as yourself.” God is clear who the “others” are. Time in our marriage and strengthening it (Genesis 2:23-24). Time teaching, loving and training our children (Ephesians 6:4). Also, spending time caring for others and sharing the hope and peace we have in Christ. In planning my week, how am I demonstrating these priorities with my time?
God also talks about rest and the gift of the Sabbath. In Mark 2: 27, Jesus says that “the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath”. In creation, on the seventh day God rested. Just as being busy and not idle is a virtue, it must be balanced with God’s command to seek rest in order to be ready to do His will. In planning my week, I need to ask myself where is my Sabbath rest?
I once went to a workshop where they were teaching about this very topic. The speaker had a large glass vase and around it was scattered a bunch of rocks of various sizes. Approximately 5 of them were quite large and then there was many medium and small sized rocks. The keynote asked for a volunteer to come to the front and attempt to fit all the rocks in the jar. The sheepish volunteer proceeded to place the small and medium rocks in first and then when trying to place the large rocks on top, it was clear they were not going to fit. The speaker suggested starting again and this time to begin with the big rocks. It was interesting to see that once the big rocks were in the jar first, the medium and little rocks were able to fall in around those and they all fit!
The same is true for our lives. If we take the time to plan the big rocks in our life- God, spouse, children, God’s service to others, the little things will fit in between. How many times do we do the opposite? We spend our time flitting from little task to little task, answering emails, scrolling social media, watching Netflix and we fail to make time for the important things, God’s priorities for our lives.
As I start the new school year and am faced with my blank new agenda, I am challenged to schedule God’s priorities for me first. If others are looking at my week, could they see that I am making time for what God’s sees as most important?
Perhaps you will spend some time thinking about where God’s priorities are fitting into your weekly schedule. Are you scheduling the big rocks first?