I recently read about two men who were coaches in the National Football League. Both won two Super Bowls. Both are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Both were considered winners in their profession. But each had different life priorities.
The first was a college coach, but when he became a head coach in the NFL he divorced his wife of 26 years saying that he no longer needed “the social prop of a spouse” which was helpful in recruiting college players. He said that winning football games was his #1 priority in life. And his two sons were #2
The second man said “The thrill of knowing Jesus is the greatest thing that ever happened to me … I think God has put me in a very special place, and He expects me to use it to His glory in everything I do … whether coaching football or talking to the press, I’m always a Christian … Christ is first, family second and football third.”
While the first man was considered a success in the secular world, the second man’s priorities would render him a true success in God’s eyes.
Our priorities will be based on the principles and values that either consciously or subconsciously guide our lives. Stephen Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effectively People,” wrote, “Personal leadership is the process of keeping your vision and values before you and aligning your life to be congruent with them.”
Peter Drucker, the father of business consulting, is often quoted as saying, “the main thing, is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” That’s just not true in business. It’s true in life. And it’s critically vital to spiritual success.
If you haven’t read it lately, take 20 minutes to read Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7). It will offer you principles on which you can develop a value-driven life and thus properly order your priorities. It may be summed up in this simple statement. “Seek first the Kingdom of God.”
Later Jesus summarized the principle-driven and value-based life into two overriding precepts when he answered the question, “What is the greatest commandment?”
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Think about how all other Scriptural admonitions and exhortations fit into one of these two categories? The beatitudes. The Golden Rule. The one another commands. Developing the fruit of the Spirit. And growing in the Christian graces.
From these principles, we form our values and order our life’s priorities. These priorities control and guide…
…What we think about.
…What we talk about.
…What we read.
…How we spend our lesuire time.
…Where we spend our money.
…Who your closest friends are.
…What career choices we make.
…How we treat other people.
…How much we invest in educational growth.
Furthermore our priorities impact the choices we make regarding our family, social and spiritual relationships.
Myles Munroe was right when he wrote, “Our life is the sum total of all the decisions we make every day, and those decisions are determined by our priorities.”
Furthermore, our principles and values determine how we prioritize our priorities. Some times we must say “no” to the good in order to pursue “the better,” or “the best.” We learn, or at least should at some point, that we can’t do everything. “A weakness of all human beings,” opined Henry Ford “is trying to do too many things at once. That scatters effort and destroys direction.” Determine what’s the most important, then prioritize.
In an age when principles may be discarded in pursuit of pleasure and values compromised for personal gain, it’s important to rethink and renew our real priorities in life.
Let us not become a slave to what is urgent and neglect what is the most important. Or as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe put it, “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.”
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman