A Wheel, Not a List

Free Digital Photos, jscreationzs
The Bible clearly tells us we must follow this priority list:
1. God
2. Spouse
3. Children
4. Extended family
5. Church
6. Community

Right?
Wrong!

We evangelicals have created many lists and formulas, but they don’t all come from Scripture. This is one example.

The only clear priorities in Scripture are these:
  • "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself" (Luke 19:27).
  • “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need” (Matthew 6:33, NLT).
A number of passages describe structure, authority, and responsibilities:
  • Genesis 2:24 designates new lines of authority when a couple marries.
  • Ephesians 5 and 6 compare the husband/wife relationship to Christ/Church, speak of nurturing children, and honoring parents.
  • Galatians 6:10 tells us to do good especially to fellow Christians.
But none of these passages or other similar passages create a clear, specific priority ranking.

Aside from God always being our #1 priority, priorities are somewhat "organic" (flexible, arising naturally, not easily predictable). 

 Free Digital Photos, renjith krishnan
Instead of a list, life is more like a wheel.(1) 

Christ is the center and each spoke represents a priority. As the wheel turns, different priorities take precedence.

For example, the needs of a sick child take priority over date night with our spouse. Jobs sometimes take priority over family time. Caring for aging parents may take precedence over spending time and money on immediate family. Being obedient to Christ is the only absolute, unchanging priority.   

Has our evangelical list sometimes led to family idolatry? I believe it has. I know I have been guilty of making my family's desires too important at times. Consequently, ministry, church, friendships, community and extended family have suffered. 

But something even worse has happened to our Christian youth because of this priority shift... 

I talk about that in Part 2: Needs vs. Wants.

(1) This is not my original analogy. I read it years ago in a Christian publication but I'm not sure of the source.


4 comments:

  1. Gail,
    You're tackling tough subjects right out of the gate this (almost) new year. Good for you. I love the illustration of the wheel. Keep up the good work.

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  2. I love your one minute devotions, I am always glad when I find them on a link up. I am going to follow you so I get all of them :)

    If you want to follow me back, you can check out my blog http://wifethenmama.blogspot.com

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  3. I've heard about the idea of priorities as a wheel with God at the center, but I hadn't remembered how it worked out. I like how you've explained it here, Gail. It's something I've struggled somewhat with in life and this gives greater clarity to me in making those choices. Thanks so much and Happy New Year, my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I prefer the idea of the wheel over that of the list. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete

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