If I hear another pastor, teacher or speaker proclaim, as if from Mount Sinai, “Put God first, your family second, your ministry third and your self last,” my “self” is going to put them very last on my priority list! Here’s why:
Let me be clear: putting God at the center of our lives is essential. But if I put time alone with God as first in the hierarchy mentioned, I’m never going to get to my family. I’m going to be a monk cloistered away reading my Bible, praying, journaling, worshiping, and if I’m really spiritual, fasting. If my choice is to read the Bible or read to my kids or grandkids, I’ve got to choose God’s Word if I’m locked into this rigid ranking of priorities.
If I put my family over my ministry, I will never get a word written or leave the house to speak at a conference. My wife has a “honey do list” that will keep me busy until Jesus comes. And pastors would never have time for sermon prep, board meetings, hospital calling, and the thousands of other tasks assigned to them by the congregation.
And if put my ministry over myself, there’s not going to be much of me left except a burnout shell of a person with high blood pressure and ulcers.
That’s why this ranking system is so unrealistic and unworkable. Those who attempt to implement it end up conflicted and stressed—and probably alienated from their family. So, here’s an alternative: [Continue reading].
Plus bonus post: Managing your time . . . and sanity