I was driving to work today, and an odd thought came into my mind. The thought was of priorities, and how we can often have very different ones. One example came to my mind about different priorities my fiancée and I have. I studied music at Uni, and hence have a very different perspective of rehearsals than my fiancee. We’re in the Songsters at my Corps – a choir that gives a message during the morning service. We rehearse each Wednesday, and sometimes, my fiancee has a slightly “less professional” attitude than myself. Where as for me, I can’t stand being late for a rehearsal, let alone missing one without a valid reason. If it were up to me, I would be arriving at least 15 minutes before the rehearsal was due to begin, where as my fiancee would prefer to arrive right when it’s due to start.
My priorities during rehearsal are also somewhat different to those sitting next to me. I pay attention, sing, run through my part in my mind when the conductor is working with other parts, and stop singing when he requests. Others will muck around, not pay attention, and continue to sing for a little bit after the conductor has finished. We have different priorities, based on what we have experienced.
How do we reconcile different priorities between each other? Also, how do we reconcile when our priorities are different to what God’s priorities are?Jonah had different priorities than God. God wanted Jonah to tell the people of Ninevah that they were going to be destroyed. Jonah wanted to protect himself – fearing that if he went to Ninevah, he would be destroyed by the people there, who didn’t want to listen. He ran to the seas, and the Lord followed, creating a large storm. Jonah realised what was happening, and offered to have himself thrown overboard, where he was swallowed by a giant fish, and the storm calmed. He went to Ninevah and told them that they were to be destroyed. THe people of Ninevah changed their ways, declared a fast, and God changed his mind, and decided not to destroy Ninevah. Jonah was angry, annoyed that after risking his life, God did not follow through with what he had promised.
God’s priorities were different to Jonah’s. Jonah looked only for himself. He ran away because he was scared, he got angry because he saw his efforts as wasted. God had different priorities. Jonah 4:11 says “But Nineveh has more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left, and many cattle as well. Should I not be concerned about that great city?” God cared for everyone.
In this example, God persisted at Jonah, and carried through his plans, and eventually taught him (Read Jonah chapter 4). But how do we find out what God’s priorities are? Wouldn’t it be easier if we knew what God’s priorities are, and aligned our priorities to be in line with his?
We find out God’s priorities through reading the Bible. I think that God’s number one priority is what he tells us is the most important thing. Mark 12:28-34 has Jesus telling us this:
“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love. Love is God’s number one priority. Love God with everything that we have, and Love our neighbour – love everyone that you come across. In the same passage in Matthew 22, Jesus states “All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” All of the books of law in the Old Testament, every word that the prophets have spoken, it all comes back to those two commandments to Love.
If we align ourselves to Love, we align ourselves to God. When we align ourselves to God, we open ourselves to bringing his light to this dark world.
Edit – Just wanted to clean up the first paragraph. P.S. My fiancee rocks, and does enjoy Songsters – as we both do.