When Marcia and I were courting, she went to school at UNI and I went to school at the U of I. On weekends, I would find whatever means possible to get to Cedar Falls just to be with her. We were, and still are, heads over heels in love and value time together. One day together was better than all the others combined.
Maybe you feel the same way about vacations or weekends. You work all week so you can enjoy two days of leisure. Or you plan for months, saving money all year so you could go on a treasured vacation. Compared to the pile of time working and money spent, the vacation was worth it. I’m sure you can think of other “trade offs” you intentionally make in your life: time with kids rather than time spent in front of the TV, living simply so you have money to invest in others.
But what about God?
“Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.” Psalm 84:10
You might recognize this verse from a popular worship song. It reflects the eternal truth that nothing compares to knowing God and being known by him. As we sing we’re affirming that we would trade a thousand days elsewhere for just one day with him. But is it evidenced in our lives?
I’m humbled to say that many of my trade offs demonstrate I’d rather be elsewhere. When well, I have time to check the news and emails, time to tackle items on a to-do list, time for relaxation, time to write this blog. But where does God fit in? Yesterday, Marcia and I observed that in this crazy world of hospital living, our days are filled to the brim with medical treatments, tests, daily consultation with specialists, physical exercises, and needed rest periods. We find time to handle the bills and do some work for Go Light Our World. But missing was the quality daily devotion time together to study and discuss God’s Word, seeking his presence and guidance for our lives.
Don’t get me wrong we all have to-do it’s to tend to, work to be done, bills to be paid, and families to enjoy. The question isn’t what we do, it’s how we set our priorities. What (or who) comes first?
You might be familiar with the challenge of the jar and the stones. An empty jar is presented along with a quantity of sand, pebbles, large stones and water. The challenge is to fit them all in. Start with the water or small stones and there won’t be room for the larger rocks. Only if you start with the big rocks first, then add the pebbles – constantly shaking the jar- then the sand and finally the water will you get the task done.
Life is like that. We need to handle the big rocks/priorities first. Think about it: 15 minutes filling your heart and mind with God’s truth and goodness versus 1000 minutes listening to our own emotions that so often misguide us. We have to decide what are the big rock priorities that simply must be tended to first so that we have room for the other important things. If it is our desire to spend 15 minutes alone with God more than 1000 minutes doing other things and listening to other voices, then it is worth putting this “big rock” in first. I know Marcia and I are making some adjustments in where we spend our days. How about you?