Daily Devotional for Saturday February 15, 2003

Giving Our Best Effort in All Areas of Life

(Matthew 6:33)

Giving our best effort in ALL areas of our life. One of the easiest traps to fall into, and one of things that I pray about daily, is giving my best effort in every area of my life. For most of us, a big portion of our life is our job or school. We tend to spend the majority of our time and energy either involved in our work or school. How many days do you come home from work or school and are exhausted? You have literally given everything you have, and your tank is empty.

The problem is, in addition to your work or school, you have a spouse, children, family, and friends (maybe only one or possibly all of these) that are part of your life and need to be nurtured. How often do we come home and we just have nothing left for our wife or husband? Or how many times are we too tired to spend that quality time with our children that we need to? Or we have no energy to spend time with other family members of friends? The fact is, while we often give our best efforts, give the best of what we have at work or school, those that we love most in this life usually get the leftovers. Recently I did a Devotional on working at our job, or at school as unto the Lord. Doing our best since we are His representatives at the jobsite or in the classroom. So I am NOT talking about not giving our best efforts when we are working or in school. What I am talking about is the balance in our life that is so critical.

The order of our priorities is simple. Our relationship with the Lord has to be first since who we are, and what we are in this life, flow from that relationship. Then comes those people God has given us to share this life with. Our spouse, children, family, close friends. Next is our job or education. Now I realize that I may make some people uncomfortable today. Talk to the Lord about it. Why do we give so much at work, at school, give the very best we have, and give very little at home.....and usually nothing at all to the Lord? That is upside down! When our priorities are upside down, our lives tend to get upside down. Marriages get into trouble because husbands and wives don't work at it. Marriage is NOT a joint living arrangement, but a bonding, a blending of two lives into one, with Christ as the center. Everyone is so busy with "work", that many marriages are little more than convenient living arrangements.

Is it any wonder why without the intimacy, the daily nurturing, that so many end up in relationships outside the home? The really stupid thing is that if you put the same amount of energy and effort into your spouse that you end up putting into someone else, you would be amazed at how wonderful God can make your marriage experience. Because of "work", your children don't get the best you have, they get little bits and pieces here and there. Other family members and friends also get whatever is leftover. The Lord???? Maybe a "hello" as you leave in the morning, or a "prayer" as your eyes close at night.

Nobody is more guilty of this than I am. I have written this Devotional several times in the last months, but never sent it out. As with all battles, we must have a battleplan. Being a very organized person as many of you are, here is how I have worked at keeping my priorities straight, making sure that I was giving my best efforts in all of the areas of my life. First, is my daily walk with Christ. Whether you are a pastor, in full-time ministry, a homemaker, a student, or whatever else you may do in life, THERE IS NOTHING MORE IMPORTANT THAN YOUR DAILY WALK WITH CHRIST.

Especially for those in ministry, if you don't have a real, intimate, daily walk with Christ, you have NO ministry. Your ministry flows from that personal relationship. I spend the first 15-20 minutes every morning in prayer, then another 20-30 minutes in the Word. I HAVE to start my day with the Lord, for many reasons, but practically, if I don't do it then, it will never get done. That is reality. I schedule my day to include time with my wife. It may sound cold, but I operate best under a disciplined schedule. I make sure we eat dinner together, we do something out of the house together, and spend time each day talking. Even when I don't want to, I HAVE to talk with my wife. Husbands and wives HAVE to talk to each other each day, and not just about the daily business. Communication is critical to a relationship. Talk with the Lord, talk with your wife. Sandwiched in between is our work or school.

How is it possible to have the energy, to give our best to the Lord, at work or school, to our spouse, kids, family, and friends? My friend, in our own strength it is impossible! We can only do it in the strength the Lord gives us. We have to be aware how important it is to keep our priorities in line. When we get our priorities out of line, we will get into trouble in one, two, or many areas of our life. It is just a matter of time.

I love you, care about you, and will be praying for you today. I realize that this is a very difficult subject for many, and will actually involve much conviction from the Holy Spirit since you are so entrenched in your day to day lives. It is not to late to make changes, and God will help you to get your priorities in order. God, our loved ones, work/school. If we keep our priorities straight, the Lord will help us to always give our best effort in EVERY area of our life.

In His love and service, Your friend and brother in Christ, Bill Keller