Vol.XIII No.VII Pg.3
September 1976

Our Tattling Priorities

Dan S. Shipley

As someone has wisely noted, life is governed by esteemed values. Its what men consider important that really counts in the ordering of personal priorities. Obviously, not all consider the same things important. What one views as trivial may be anothers treasure, and vice versa. But this much is sure: no man ever treats his own treasure as a trivial thing.

On the contrary, ones devotion to his special interests will likely be conspicuously manifest, even when he might wish it otherwise. As Jesus has said, for where thy treasure is, there will thy heart be also (Matt. 6:21). Again, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh (Matt. 12:3b). The heart is where the treasure is and the mouth will soon reveal where the heart is. Our priorities tell on us because we like to tell about them. Sooner or later, the topic of conversation will be centered on our interests — maybe not with the enthusiasm of a golf or fishing nut, but like ants at a picnic, theyll keep on showing up. Our auditors hear what we are concerned about. What do they hear? Is it ever spiritual subjects? It may be enlightening to see a list of what our friends consider to be our priorities. Chances are, they wouldnt be far off because if our conversations didnt tell on us, our schedules would.

Like our speech, the employment of free time says much about our interests. Thats why we always seem to find time for doing what we want and seldom find time for the dont-wants. Worse, we may even become unconscious to making such distinctions — even to the extent of habitually first doing what we want, then, if necessary, invent excuses for our failures. Mostly, Christians with excuses are just Christians with wrong priorities. Think, for instance, of how Christians could redeem the time, not only by attending Bible studies and worship, but by visiting the sick and weak and teaching the lost. Yet, it is not unusual to hear of those who put in more time watching TV in one or two evenings than on all of these activities put together for a whole week! We ought to be ashamed! — not for watching TV, but for neglecting the other. Redeeming the time (Eph. 5:16) becomes an impossible task without right priorities.

Finally, the use made of financial resources says something about what we consider important. In fact, some say it says most and loudest. Anyway, like time and tongue, it does tell where the heart is and its use can be a proof of love (2 Cor. 8:24). Certainly, that which we profess to be the most important and urgent cause on earth deserves to be supported accordingly, financially and otherwise.

Remember, our priorities do tell on us. And they always tell the truth! The Lord hears what they say. The brethren hear. So does the world. The real question is, do we? If so, we may conclude that changes are needed. Not superficial changes that force external improvement, but the kind that get to the heart of the matter — the kind that come from facing up to our true condition and real needs and make us see the need for the Lord and seeking Him FIRST.