We always have important priorities but definitely some are more important than others. For example, what can we do without good health? It is so important that businessmen who want to succeed must first take care of their health. If not, the business will not receive the optimum attention and may be adversely affected. Proverbs 23:4 counsels, “Don’t wear yourself out trying to get rich. Be wise enough to know when to quit.”
Some people think that financial security is their number one priority because without money you can’t achieve any meaningful thing. Indeed, Ecclesiastes 10:19 says, “…Money is the answer for everything…(NIV). Some consider children, family and relations their number one priority. Of course, Psalm 127:3-5 says that “children are a heritage from the Lord…like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them.”
Most, if not all of us in businesses, professions and politics are attracted to things like power, fame, prestige and control. Everyone desires to excel and to be known and become powerful and influential. Generally, we put a lot of emphasis on these things and work hard to achieve them.
Most people in the marketplace place their greatest priority on acquiring wealth. Our time and energy are devoted to how to make more money and acquire possessions like mansions, luxury cars, investments and heavy accounts in local and foreign banks and so on. The world classifies you as successful when you’ve acquired great wealth.
There is really nothing wrong with being successful. After all, God has promised certain kinds of success if we continually put Him first and obey His Word. Joshua 1:8 says, “Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.” In other words, being committed to obeying God’s Word is the sure way to be successful.
Ecclesiastes 12:13 says, “ Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man.” Here, King Solomon, described as the wisest human that ever lived, confirms the number one priority for man – fear God and obey His commandments. Knowing and obeying God’s Word are definitely the most important things in life. The Word of God is more valuable than gold (Psalm 19:10).
Our number one priority should be to know and obey God’s Word. This is the key to prosperity, success and joy. All the blessings enumerated in Deuteronomy 28:1-14 are anchored on fully obeying God. Those who lack purpose and direction should fear God and keep His commandments.
Jesus Himself says in Matt 6:31-33(NKJV), “Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Seeking the kingdom of God and His righteousness means turning to God first for help, filling your thoughts with His desires, and taking His character for your pattern. It means serving and obeying Him in everything.
Don’t allow your needs, wants and desires to compete for this number one priority. Any of these can displace God out of the first place in your life if you don’t actively determine to give Him the first place in every area of your life.
We must prioritise our activities and consider the ones with eternal values. For instance, daily prayers and Bible study are sine qua non for a seeker of God’s Kingdom. How can we grow spiritually if we neglect these basic habits? Unfortunately, many pursuits and demands of our businesses tend to squeeze prayer and Bible study times out of our schedules. No wonder we are just running the rat race which is an endless, self-defeating pursuit.
Leaving out God’s time in our daily routines is a sure cause for failure in our endeavours. Job 8:11-13 (NKJV) says, “Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? While it is yet green and not cut down, it withers before any other plant. So are the paths of all who forget God…”