Sitting here in my usual spot. Saturday mornings…Friday nights…Saturday nights..Monday nights…it really doesn’t matter. As long as there is an assignment due I am here at this table in this fast food joint…working on that assignment. I can no longer work from home. Not right now. Maybe after I create a “cubicle” I can focus…but right now I am surrounded by the work that needs accomplished there. It just occupies my mind so much I find it impossible to work on assignments which have deadlines. I have to leave home. In order to accomplish an important task I have to leave other important tasks. I have to make choices about what must be first on my list. This means I have to prioritize.
So, here I am…surrounded by this massive mess of papers…all of them making some sort of sense to me…each one containing information I need…some of it in just a few days when the midterm is taken.
But….once again…I have to sort through the pile…determine what I need to focus on first. I have to sort it into piles that I can then organize and use in an effective manner. If I don’t I will find myself at a loss as to which information goes in what order and I will be unable to use what I have in front of me wisely. I will fail because I didn’t choose to prioritize.
So…I start out with the toughest subject for me…the Spanish. That’s the one I really struggle through…though I will be thrilled when I gain mastery…right now I am a toddler on the playing field. Still…that’s where I have to start…sort out all the Spanish material.
But wait…was that really where I needed to start today? I mean…was it truthfully the most important place for me to begin my day? If I start with Spanish as my first thought will it inspire me to do the most important things in my day?
The answer to that is what I have been pondering…………..
You see….I am surrounded by important things to focus on. I am surrounded by other people’s thoughts, actions, motivations. I am surrounded by philosophy, religion, politics, emotion, need, opportunity. What I am not surrounded by is people willing to remind me of the first thing…the best thing…the most honorable and praise worthy thing. No. That I have to bring to the table myself. That I have to fight for. That has to be an intentional thing each and every day of my life. It has to be the first thing I think of. It has to be intentionally the first thing I run to. If it isn’t I am lost. If it isn’t I have no idea how to function in my day. I may think I do, but at the end of the day I will find that I made many bad choices that day. I chose the lesser of goods and did not hit the mark of excellence. Not that all the things I strive for are bad. Just that there are good and then there are the best. I want the best. How will I get there?
Right here…in the written word of God. I will find His voice…speaking so sweetly to me…speaking in such a corrective tone to me…I will find Him guiding and chastening. I will find the answers to the the questions that plague me each morning. This is the best. This is choosing between the good and the best. The rest of my day will be guided correctly if I first seek HIM in these pages.
One of my worst issues of late is how I view people. I sit here working on these lessons…and people watch. I am so judgmental. It is so easy to feel arrogant when I sit here in my little “fast food office” looking out at others. It is easy to think I would choose better for them or that they are too arrogant themselves. It is so easy to think I KNOW what they are doing or are about. It is so easy. Yet, I have no idea. I am not in their lives. I know only this small moment in their own story. I can’t even tell you I understand and KNOW my husband and kids. How could I know these people who I spend no real time with? I can’t. That’s just it. I can’t. It is terribly arrogant of me to think I can…to be deceived by the heart which God said in His word always would trick me into believing something other than truth.
And even if I could….would it be right for me to choose to? I mean….think about it….who should I judge? My own self. That is the only person I should judge. My own person. I should compete against my own self and judge my own actions against my own actions and in light of the Word of the ever living God. That is the only way to properly operate. And…this should be the first thing in my day and the last thing in my day. This should be the way I operate all through my day. This should be the way I live…and as I breathe…so should I pray….about this and every other matter that comes to me. And I should people watch less. Until I can master my own thoughts….I should people watch less. You see….if your hand offends you….right? If you are unable to do something without sinning…you must let it go…at least until you have mastery over your own self. This is the only way to operate. This is the right way.
Good. Better. Best. Many times we choose the good. It isn’t wrong to choose the good. I mean…the homework needs doing. So does the laundry. The dishes. The meals need cooked.
Often we manage to prioritize up to the better. We sit down with the family for a family night. We have conversations with our kids. We have a coffee with our spouse and catch up. We let go of the good long enough to embrace what we see is the better. It makes our life better. It blesses those around us…especially if we then go ahead and do the good after we have seen to the better.
Excellence is seen in the best. Excellence is seen in waking to the very best that we could have. It is seen in seeking the face of our God first …..as the light dawns so does our heart cry out to Him. As the coffee brews our fingers are turning the pages of His word and seeking the light of His voice for ourselves on that day. As our families wake from the night’s rest we are prepared with His corrective word and loving guidance to know how to love and care for them that day. We are ready to face our work. We are sure of our priorities. This is the best. This is how excellence is achieved…and it is also how we abide in Him. The only place real fruit can be found is when we abide in Him.
It is easy to get off track. It is easy to lose site of what is good, better and best. It is easy to think that we need to do something before we seek the Lord and that we need to wash the dishes before we talk to that child. It is easy to think these “best” and “better” things will wait. But our Lord asks we abide with Him in the present tense, and our children grow up each and every day, whether we are watching or not. Our relationships grow cold unless we stir the embers of love and friendship. These are things which must be dealt with first…and in the proper order.
During this lenten season let us seek to prioritize what is good, better and best so that we are the most fruitful for the One who loves us best.