There was a time in my life where everything was in a total mess and confusion. I did not know how to arrange my priorities in life properly and in the end it led to many confusion and hurt. It wasn’t until I came to join my GO group and discussed about this issue with my fellow brothers and sisters that I finally found out the truth.

In our opinion, the proper priorities of life should arranged be this way:

1. GOD (personal, deep, intimate relationship)
2. Family (biological family, not family of believers)
3. Work or School (whatever your occupation is)
4. Ministry and Church Activities

Usually, the issue for most people here is that we often confuse between God and ministry. They often believe that God and ministry are the same, while in truth there are major differences between personal relationship with God and church ministry. Sometimes, ministry, if not being handled properly, can even get in the way in the relationship between you and God! How often it is that we are too busy doing our ministries that we forgot to step back and take time to have a personal and intimate relationship with God? I know I had made this mistake too in the past.

Too often we heard of cases where these priorities conflict each other. I’ve heard the story of a young high-schooler who was going to have his final exam in Monday and decided not to go to the choir practice that Sunday so that he could study for the exam. Sadly, when he asked for permission, the choir leader scolded him and said that he “should have put ministry and God (remember: these are two different things!) above all else”. So, in the end, he went to the practice out of guilt and couldn’t focus on studying that night. He didn’t perform too well in the exam and got bad grades in the end. Not a good way to bring a good testimony to his family and friends, don’t you think?

There is also another example for the same case from a conversation between another high-schooler and another choir leader in another time and another place…

High-schooler: “Um, I got an exam tomorrow and I’d like to study tonight.”
High-schooler: “Can I, like, pass choir practice just for today?”
Choir Leader: “Do you have your ID card with you now?”
High-schooler: “Er, yeah… Why?”
Choir Leader: “What’s written there on your profession?”
High-schooler: “Student.” (in Indonesian: “Pelajar.”)
Choir Leader: “So what should a student do?”
High-schooler: “Study?” (in Indonesian: “Belajar?”)
Choir Leader: “That’s right. So that’s what you gotta do and bless the LORD with it.”

This choir leader understands that work and study are more important than ministry. If you do ministry but you get bad grades or perform badly in your workplace, that wouldn’t please God and that wouldn’t send a good message to the people around you. They will think that being Christian is just one of your excuses to be lazy (and yes, sadly most people believe that Christians ARE lazy). Remember that it’s in your daily life — not in church — that you have to be a good witness the most, because that is also where people need Christ the most.

The same principle applies to families as well. If you do ministry but you neglect your husband, wife or children’s needs, what would people say when they see your family? You may be a good minister in church, but if your family doesn’t have enough to eat or your child grow up to be a troublemaker because you’re rarely there to instruct him or her, what would your neighbourhood say about your family? Would they say that you have a good family, or the other way around? Would they get a good message about the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in your family?

To conclude…

  1. You minister for God. So ministry shouldn’t get in the way between you and God. He’s your Boss, so there’s no point in doing “something for Him” if He’s not getting anything from it. Do you know that His greatest desire is to know you and that is the exact reason why He came down to this world?
  2. You mainly work for your family. If your profession gets in the way of having some quality time between you and your family, then rethink this question carefully — “what are you working for?”. Is it for youself? Your own pride? Your satisfaction? Your social status? Or something else?
  3. You work for God too. So the same principle as no.2 above applies too in your relationship with God. In addition, always look for opportunities to be a witness in your workplace, for that is one of your life calling too.
  4. Remember that in everything you do (work, study, ministry, etc), the focus should be on GOD.

Do you have another opinion on how to arrange your life priorities? Share about it in the comments section below.