Time flies. It seems as though there is always another milestone just ahead – another marker of time. This is magnified as we get older.
When I was younger and did not have familial responsibilities, I didn’t notice it. When I got married and especially when I became a father, that’s when I developed an awareness of it. It manifested itself in a series of firsts – baby’s first words, first tooth, first steps. Then it was the ever-approaching holidays as celebrations; a birthday party, Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Becoming a granddad has created a sense that time is moving even faster. Obviously, the truth of the matter is that time doesn’t speed up or slow down. It is constant. I just find myself getting caught up in the circumstances of the moment. I find myself either looking ahead at an approaching milestone or worrying about some future deadline and miss the opportunity of enjoying the moment of right now.
I once heard a speaker say, “If you want to examine the priorities in your life, look at your bank statement.” It is a provocative, thought-provoking statement. In fact, how we spend our money, time and talents speaks volumes about those things that carry importance in our lives – what matters most to us. Sometimes life’s circumstances will cause us to reevaluate our priorities. A sudden illness or even a death of a loved one will often force us to examine what should matter in our lives. But life circumstances on the other end of the spectrum can have the same effect. Getting married, adopting a child, or moving to a new community can invoke the same type of introspection. The neat thing about evaluating priorities is that we don’t have to wait for one of these life moments to do it. As you finish reading this column, ask yourself, “What are my priorities?
As many of you know, I am a new granddad. As a new member of this fraternity, I am fortunate that our daughter and son-in-law live in Roanoke. It’s only a 25-minute drive to their home. I can stop by and see my granddaughter practically anytime I want to do it. A simple truth – I take that for granted. My daughter recently challenged me on this point. She asked me why I do not stop by with all of my visits to Roanoke. With all sincerity, she recently challenged me on my visits to those who are hospitalized or incarcerated. But you’re not taking time to visit your grandchild.
I appreciate that I have two pastors who are also mentors to me. As our ministry was birthed, each shared this perspective with me. God. Family. Ministry. What they were saying was, make sure you have your priorities in the right order. They cautioned that it is easy to get lost in the work of ministry and neglect the people that God has placed especially in your life. I, too, need to reevaluate my priorities.
Matthew 6:33 (KJV) reads, “But seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” The NLT reads, “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” As Christians, our priority needs to be rooted in God first. We need to seek His will for our lives through His Word and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Getting fueled through our connection to Him allows us then to be available to our families and to the needs of others.
I share this topic of priorities with you, not because I am executing it perfectly. I am not. I desire to be obedient to the will of God, even though I execute my obedience imperfectly. It is just an opportunity to give you pause for reflection without being in a life-changing moment. How do you spend your money, time, and talents? I can do better.
The next time you see me out somewhere, ask me, “When is the last time you visited your granddaughter? When did you speak with your mother last? When did you celebrate the life of your wife?” Life is too short. What are your priorities?