Sunday, February 15, 2009

Day 2 – The Attraction of Lesser Things

In Day 1, we learned that nothing is more important than relationships – with God first and with others second. And while we most likely knew that before we read chapter 1, Tom Holladay had the courage to admit something else we all realize – making relationship our most important priority is the difficult part. The difficulty comes from the attraction of lesser things.

I can certainly relate to the examples in the chapter. It is much easier to grab the remote and flip on Sports Center in the morning than it is to pick up my Bible and read it with my breakfast. It is easier to let my attention drift back to the email or webpage I was reading when my daughter interrupts to tell me the most amazing thing that just happened on Webkinz.

Jesus said that no man can serve two masters. One will always win out. The problem is that we tend to choose the easier option because it requires “less faith and less effort.” We need to not only know that we must put relationships first, but we must act and put forth an effort to improve our relationships. To do that, Tom challenges us to determine who our master is and where we place our priorities.

Here are five very insightful and direct questions he poses to help us figure this out.
1. What is the first thing you think about in the morning?
2. What does your schedule tell you about your priorities?
3. As you look at your checkbook, who gets paid, no matter what?
4. What do you find yourself talking about most?
5. What is the last thing you think about when your head hits the pillow at night?

If I’m honest, I can’t say that relationships would even be in the top three of my responses for most of these questions. When I wake up in the morning I immediately start thinking about all I have to do that day. I can’t say that I’ve ever scheduled time to work on or think about relationships. I know I’ve never put take time to pray on my To-Do list. What could be more important than having that time scheduled each day?

Jesus provided us with many examples of putting relationships ahead of tasks. Read through the Gospel of Mark some day and pay special attention to the number of times the people around Jesus were in a rush to get somewhere or accomplish a task, and Jesus either ignored them or rebuked them. For Jesus, the need of the person, many times a person that most would have ignored, was more important than the task.

I’m hoping as I continue through the 40 days that I will focus less on my daily tasks and more on relationships. I will pay more attention to the ocean sapphire that completes the crown of wonder, than in finishing an email that will still be there in five minutes. I hope you will follow along.

Day 3 - Love God With All Your Heart

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