“How can we live in obedience to God as our free time diminishes

and the demands on it increase?”

The traditional way of stating a Christian’s priorities puts God

first, family second, church third, work fourth, and so on. This ladder approach, although claiming to grow out of the Biblical requirement to give God our highest loyalty, is not truly Scriptural. (1) Christ is to be first in every area of our lives. Saying that He is first and other aspects are secondary implies that He is not an essential part of the other areas. (2) In most life-choices the question is not which area to

concentrate on but how to give adequate attention to several vital areas. The ladder approach doesn’t take into account the

necessary trade-.offs involved in trying to be both a good parent

and a productive employee, for example. (3) Putting work at the

end of the list of priorities implies that your secular work does not matter as much to God as a pastor’s does.

A more Scriptural analogy for organizing one’s priorities would be the pentathlon, an athletic event in which participants compete in five areas (pistol shooting, fencing, horseback riding, swimming, and running). The athlete must carefully allocate his training time among the five events in order to do well enough in all areas to win the prize. Aspects of the Christian life that parallel the pentathlon include work; family, personal life, church, and community. The believer’s goal should be to become more Christlike in every one of the five. The beauty of this analogy is that it encourages us to take stock of all the important areas of life so that we don’t spend too much time training in one area to the detriment of another. It also underscores the fact that God values progress not perfection.

As a Christian, realize that God is sovereign over your life. There IS enough time in each day for you to accomplish what He wants you to do, and ~remember that you are only a junior partner with God in fulfilling your responsibilities.”


“God first, family second.. right?” by Doug Sherman.

Discipleship Journal, Nov/Dec 1990 [#60]. Pages 40-42