Well, I knew it was coming, but I just can’t ignore it any longer. When I saw the ‘Back-To-School’ display at Target in mid-July, I just wanted to yell “get out of my summer!”
But it’s now time to purchase reams of notebook paper, #2 pencils, and a jug of hand-sanitizer. Our summer pace of family movie nights and slow-sleepy mornings is about to be exchanged for waking up in time to catch the red-eye school bus and shuttling our kids to practice.
The coming wave of homework, deadlines, and meetings is daunting. And when that wave crashes, it can quickly wash away my good intentions to be more disciplined in the things that matter. The tyranny of the urgent screams for my attention causing my eyes to turn away from the eternal.
So how can we keep our heads and maintain our priorities this Fall?
Let me give you one phrase and a few practices to help you think about this.
“Prioritize the Preeminent”
A preeminent goal is one that trumps all others. It is the foremost priority that surpasses the rest of the ‘to-do’ list. If you & I were asked what are the most important things in our lives, I’m sure we would say something including ‘faith and family.’
But it seems that often our faith is the first priority to be moved to the back burner so that we can take care of the ‘urgent’ things. I want this Fall to be marked by a preeminent priority of ‘the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” (Philippians 3:8). I
f I make it to every meeting, and my kids get all A’s, and they win every ball game, but in the midst of all that I forsake the preeminent priority of honoring and obeying God, then I have missed it.
How can we prioritize the preeminent? Answer: by being continually reminded of our priority. Let me give you a few quick ideas on how to do this:
1. Remember the Word of the Lord Daily
“In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word.” Psalm119:14 -16
Daily bible reading is the Christian’s food. We can not go long with out it. We need God’s truth to satisfy our hunger, to stabilize our emotions, to focus our eyes on the eternal, to remind our soul of the love of God in Christ.
So what is your plan for daily bible reading this Fall?
Pick a book of the Bible and read a chapter a day.
It is vital to daily to remind yourself of God’s love and kingdom plan so that you don’t lose sight of your preeminent priority.
2. Remember the Day of the Lord Weekly
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” Exodus 20:8
As life gets busy it becomes very easy to disobey this commandment. God knows you and I need a weekly refresh. We need the ministry of other Christians to encourage our weary heart, challenge our sinful tendencies, proclaim the Word of the Lord, and to speak the truth in love.
And your presence at the weekly gathering of the church is not just good for you. It is good for the rest of us. When you are present, your gifts bless others, your words encourage others, your worship inspires others, and your service allows others to worship Jesus.
That’s what it means to be part of the body of Christ. Hebrews 10:24, 25 reminds us to “…consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.”
To prioritize the preeminent means making every effort to gather with the saints on Sundays.
3. Remember the Victory of the Lord Always
And finally in order to keep our priority in focus we need to heed the words of the Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 2:8, “Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead…”
All of our efforts and all of our striving this Fall have to be seen in the context of the death & resurrection of Jesus. When we fail to accomplish all that we planned, we aren’t crushed because we have the blessing of all that Christ has accomplished.
When we are discouraged, we don’t lose heart, because Christ has overcome the world. When we are weary of running at a frantic pace, we don’t give up, but instead we, “lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and …run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:1, 2).
In Christ, you have victory over sin, Satan and death. As you are tempted to forget that truth, continually remind yourself (and others) of the good news of the gospel.
So let me encourage you to take a minute before the school bell rings on Monday morning to ask the Lord for the conviction and endurance to remember His Word daily, His sabbath weekly, and His victory always.