August 1996
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Pressures And Priorities

While visiting a friend’s office, I noticed that the standard In-Out baskets had been replaced by a five-tiered set of trays labeled Critical, Urgent, Important, Back-burner, Long-term. Those trays reminded me that unless I have God’s perspective each day, pressures will always determine my priorities.

John 11:1-7 reminds us of how radically different God’s sense of urgency is from our own. Notice the chain of events: Lazarus was sick. His two sisters, Mary and Martha, sent word of his illness to Jesus. Then we see two seemingly incompatible statements: “Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was” (vv.5-6).

A dying man—a delaying Lord. Jesus’ priorities were determined not by pressure but by perfect communion with His heavenly Father.

“But I’m not Jesus,” we are quick to say. “I drive the freeways and don’t have enough hours in the day.” But Christ calls us to consult Him in every urgency and emergency, to listen for His wise direction, and to make time for the truly important things of life.

What priorities need our attention today?

Thinking It Over
What types of pressures tend to confuse my priorities? Am I giving adequate time to my relationships with Christ, with my family, with my friends?

Focusing on Christ puts everything else in perspective.