READ Luke 12:16–21
Every leader lives under the influence of the Law of Limited Resources. Time, in particular, is one of those precious commodities. The time invested in any project is taken away from some other place in life. The energy invested in one job won’t be there for another one. No leader will ever lack for things to occupy his or her time and energy. Because that’s the case, every leader must answer an important question: “Where should I invest my time and energy?” Or to put it differently, “What should be my priorities?”
Jesus told the story of a man whose main priority was himself and his possessions. In telling this story Jesus not only warned against the danger of greed, but also pointed out the futility of priorities that are not in line with God’s will.
The man in the parable had clear priorities. First, he wanted to accumulate wealth. Second, he wanted to use his wealth to secure his own future. Now, any retirement investment consultant will tell you that saving for the future is a good—even necessary—pursuit. But the rich fool, as he is called in this parable, started with the wrong motives and unfortunately failed to achieve either priority. He died before he could either expand his business or enjoy retirement. Jesus applied this parable to anybody whose priorities reveal a heart absorbed with self instead of God.
Ultimately, our purpose for living should be to bring recognition (honor and glory) to God rather than to bring pleasure to ourselves (see 1 Corinthians 10:31). With that purpose in mind we can set our priorities by discovering what will bring the greatest recognition to God. If we do that, unlike the fool in the parable, we’ll be rich in God’s eyes.
What are your top five priorities? Are you struggling with selfish ambition and greed? How has that struggle affected your priorities? How do you need to reshuffle your priorities so you can overcome these two destructive attitudes?
Priorities and Who God Is
As important as success, security and significance are, there is something far more meaningful than these. Philosophers and theologians call it the summum bonum, the “supreme good,” and they tell us that to miss this is to miss everything. Turn to Revelation 1:8 to study the Biblical vision of the summum bonum.
Priorities and Who I Am
“The good can become the enemy of the best.” Effective leaders have the ability to discern not only the difference between the good and the bad, but also the difference between the good and the best. Since we cannot do everything well, we must carefully choose a few things on which we will concentrate. Turn to 1 John 2:15–17 to consider the competing claims of the world and of the Father.
Priorities and How They Work
Life gets confusing and conflicting. We have to decide what matters most or we become victims of the loudest or latest demands. Paul, whose focused life made him a literal world-changer, discovered the key to prioritized life and shared that key in Philippians 3:12–14 .
Priorities and What I Do
How can you choose which task you should devote your time to? We need to be sure to order our priorities according to the words of Jeremiah. Read Jeremiah 9:23–24.
This Week’s Verse to Memorize: Jeremiah 29:13
“You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”