Saturday, November 15, 2008

About Priorities

I don't know about you, but I am rethinking the whole "setting my priorities" advice. I find the old enumerated listing of chosen priorities insufficient to deal with modern day life and thought. For me, "God" or my relationship to God, is not so much a "priority" as a way of life, a foundation that provides essential structure and meaning. So, having God as a "first priority" makes little sense to me. Added to this is my growing view that setting daily priorities is more of a "dynamic" rather than "static" process, depending on the day and the needs associated with that time in my life. So, today, while God is my foundation or starting point, my wife or family may be primary, but tomorrow, while not neglecting wife and family, my work at the church may be primary. Or, it may be that I have "equal priorities" if there is such a thing!


lshank01 said...

I think priorities in the traditional sense is still important. Just because one thing is prioritized higher than another doesn't mean that you always spend more time exclusively on the higher priority item. Also, many priorities overlap. Like you said, God as a priority is foundational to living out the Christian faith. Having God as first priority may not always mean having 15 or 30 or 60 minutes of "quiet, alone time with God" every day. Sometimes, it may mean spending more quality time with family or being more intentional about honoring God in being productive at work.

The only issue I take is that in our post-modern or post-Christian readers will see the post and interpret it to mean that it is o.k. to put God on the back burner (or in general higher priorities on the back burner) in favor of less worthy or lower priority items, which completely undoes the idea of having any real, foundational priorities at all, which can lead to all sorts of other problems.

Example: Today my job is my priority, so I will be productive and work with all my heart. Tomorrow, the upcoming sports event is my priority so I will skimp on any real productivity at work and spend as much time as I can thinking and "getting myself ready" for that sporting event on the company's dollar.

~J. Shank

Carl Shank said...

Thanks, Jeremy, for your comments and insights. Let's see what others say.

Carl Shank said...

Just another thought on priorities . . . Setting priorities is much more complex and fluid than we suppose. Thus, suppose that for my personal health and emotional soundness I NEED to go to a sporting event OVER my regular job priority. In other words, I may be so stressed and so burnt out that my job needs to take a "lower" place on my priority "list." It's just hard to mechanically classify life priorities as #1, #2, #3 universally for all times and all situations.