Tag Archives: Priorities

Will Christ Accept Your “Good Reasons?”

April 2, 2014

Comments Off on Will Christ Accept Your “Good Reasons?”

Landscape with the Parable of the Sower - 1557 - Pieter_Bruegel

Landscape with the Parable of the Sower – 1557 – Pieter_Bruegel


Pick any goal or responsibility that didn’t quite turn out as was expected. Is there a good reason for it or just an excuse?

Is there a difference?

If we contrast the account of Jesus’ three prospective followers (Luke 9:57-62) with the parable of the sower, (Luke 8:4-8) some similarities pop out. I’m looking mostly at the people represented as being eager to follow the Gospel when they first heard about it.

Think of some reasons why a new Christian might fall away after obeying the gospel:

  • It is hard to leave that old lifestyle
  • Dear old friends are left behind
  • Family pressures
  • Learning to read and understand the Bible is a challenge
  • The feeling of being out of place with the “experienced” Christians

In both of our passages, we see reasons for whom are presumably new followers of Christ, but are the reasons much different for a “mature” Christian falling away – or being slack?

  • That other lifestyle looks interesting
  • There are some “really good” people out there
  • No support from extended family
  • Bible reading habit never really developed
  • Not growing relationships with other Christians


Good reasons


Good reasons

In the end, the result is the same. We were never given any exceptions to the requirement to follow the Gospel.

To not fall in that trap, we have to put a lot of effort into prioritizing what is required over what is a “good reason.”

To avoid the trap, we have to recognize an excuse for what it is.

When we look at the three prospective followers, some might say the reasons they gave for wanting to do something else first were pretty “good reasons.” Jesus didn’t see it that way. It seems like this would worry us more than it does.

Just as an experiment, let’s practice what we would say to Jesus on judgment day to explain why we put him second. How would that change your priorities?

Continue reading...

A Time for Everything

January 1, 2014

Comments Off on A Time for Everything

I have been setting my goals for the year in December for a few years now. Some years are better than the others as far as sticking to them, but I like January 1st for no other reason than the clean slate I have ahead of me.

Lofty goals take time, planning and effort to reach them

Lofty goals take time, planning and effort to reach them.

Since Genesis 1 is listed on the first day of just about every published daily Bible reading plan, that clean start feeling is enhanced by reading it on January 1st. God’s creation is complete and is in the same state as our new goals (or resolutions):

  • The world is fresh and new
  • Adam and Eve haven’t had to make a critical decision yet
  • Nothing but perfection is visible

Keeping up with our goals is easy in the beginning. In the beginning nothing has caused us to choose between sticking to the plan and chasing another temptation. In the beginning, it looks like we’ll easily develop our new goals into lifelong habits.

Goals, like ideas, look great on paper. Goals, like ideas, without a plan to carry them out will most likely remain on the paper. Goals and ideas on paper aren’t worth very much.

Solomon reveals the basic philosophy behind making things happen. He tells us that there is a time for everything. (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) Meeting goals requires prioritizing everything into its proper time.

Let me repeat that:

Meeting goals requires prioritizing everything into its proper time.

What that means is that items at the bottom of the priority list will probably not happen. The bottom of that list is where the time wasters belong – not the activities required to meet our goals.

Solomon said there is a time for every purpose – so for me, I want to ask myself more often if what I am doing has a purpose.

Have you set any goals for the year? Remember to plan sufficient time to work on them.

Continue reading...

The Clutter of Life

August 17, 2013

Comments Off on The Clutter of Life

As I was cleaning out my sold house in preparation for closing this week, I was amazed by the amount of “stuff” I was storing that was not worth the space it occupied. Items that contributed nothing to household and could be thrown away without a conscience. Junk that detracted from the beauty of other things that I own.

A Cluttered life

The clutter in our habits and our schedule can hide the beauty of our heart.

That makes me wonder what I have using up the space in my life. Things that eat up my time and attention that do not contribute to God, family or my own spiritual needs.

Psalm 15 asks a related question: “Who is going to dwell with God?” Certainly not those who have clutter in their lives that keep them from practicing all that God wants from us.

Daily Bible reading for August 17

Psalm 15
1 Samuel 2:12-36
Jeremiah 46-47
Mark 14

Continue reading...

The Value of Pleasing Men

April 13, 2010

Comments Off on The Value of Pleasing Men

I ‘M nobody! Who are you?
Are you nobody, too?
Then there ‘s a pair of us — don’t tell!
They ‘d banish us, you know.

How dreary to be somebody
How public, like a frog
To tell your name the livelong day
To an admiring bog!

–Emily Dickinson

Contrast this bit of verse to Galatians 1:10.  It seems the Apostle Paul and Emily Dickinson had the same distaste for trying to please men.

Continue reading...