So often the one thing that brings us the most stress is all that needs to get done. Our to-do lists keep growing, and it is so hard to figure out the right order in which to do them. We need help prioritizing all the demands that come our way, including the ones we put on ourselves. Thankfully, God is in the business of giving us what we need, especially wisdom, as long as we are willing to submit to His will.
Priority 1: Seeking God
Our first priority is to be pursuing our relationship with God. Matthew 6:33 reminds us to seek first His kingdom, and then He will provide for your needs. We do this by renewing our minds and allowing the Spirit of God to transform our souls (Romans 12:2). Practically speaking, this looks like time spent with God in prayer, listening, Bible Study and fellowship with believers who can build up your faith. ‘For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world, yet loses his soul?’ (Mark 8:36-37) Your focus should be on training yourself, and allowing the Spirit of God to work in you, to be made righteous in the eyes of God (1 Timothy 4:8).
see also Ecclesiastes 12:13
Priority 2: Blessing Others
Our second priority is to be meeting the needs of those around us; loving our neighbours (Matthew 5:43-48). This starts with your immediate family, and moves out to your circle of influence, including those God brings into your path that need help. We are not to worry about our own needs, trusting God and friends to meet them. Our focus should be on interceding for our neighbours in prayer (1 Timothy 2:1-2) and using what God has given us (possessions and abilities) to meet their needs as they arise. The order we see in scripture is (1) Spouse, (2) Children, (3) Parents, (4) Church Family, (5) All others who are in need that you can help.
Priority 3: Personal Pursuits
Our final priority is pursuing what God has called you to pursue. This includes your work, hobbies, and goals. Whatever is left after meeting the first two priorities are to be used to fulfill the mission God has given you. Remember, even your work is a mission for God. How are you serving God in your work-place? We are on this earth for a limited time (of which we have no idea how long) and must use our time wisely as we seek to fulfill the Great Commission (making disciples – Matthew 28:16-20) and to provide for our families. Making disciples is to happen in every area of your life: family, friends, and work. Provision happens through both work and time spent with the family. We must find a way to balance the meeting of physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our families! No one of those can be left out.
What does this look like for you?
So, take your priority list and compare it to these three priorities. There will be things you need to take off your list, not because they are bad, but to make room for what is more important. There also may be things you need to add to the list to better balance your life and do what God has called you to do. Make sure to keep your priority list (maybe you have multiple lists: short term, mid-term, and long term) reasonable in length and specific so that it is do-able.