An interesting question, “what’s important?” So many things claim import in our lives: career, money, power, education, status, marriage, family, church – and they all have a claim on first place. But, to focus on one requires that the others are set aside, or at least relegated to some lower place.
It can drive you crazy. It can make you despondent. It – the “cares of the world” – can choke the life right out of you.
What really is important? We now live in the 21st Century, a concept that I haven’t fully grasped yet. We’re 22 years past 1984, we’ve survived 2001, we’re now well on our way into a Brave New World. Life has changed from the simple life that once existed: there are new demands – high speed, even instant, demands. There are gold-plated demands, high-tech demands, and demands that have raised the bar higher than you can possibly reach. Family farms are all but obsolete, craftsmen can no longer compete, and if you can’t make the cut, you’re out in the street. (That kind of rhymes…)
Wow, I’m stressed just writing this.
But, what’s really important? Is it the pursuit of happiness? Is it honor? Success? Fulfilling your destiny? Or, perhaps what is most important is simply whatever is needed at the moment. That’s a nice, pithy saying – but, how does this really help?
To help sort out those things that certainly do not require any worry, I go by the 10 Year Rule. I simply ask myself, “will this matter 10 years from now?” If not, then it’s clearly not worth stressing over. It works much of the time.
Jesus thought a bit further ahead, and recommended the Eternal Significance Rule. Does what you are doing have eternal significance? Are you laying up treasures in Heaven, or are you spending your time concerned with wood, hay & stubble, those items that will not survive the fire test?
Jesus, of course, lived in a much simpler time, before cell phones, WMDs and mortgages, car payments and cable TV bills. What was there really to worry about? It must have been easier to “not be anxious about tomorrow,” and “consider the lilies of the field” would actually have held meaning. What did these people spend their time doing? Most people didn’t even have books to read! (And, if they did, they probably weren’t novels.)
What’s really important? Do society and technology really change anything? Does your Palm Pilot tell you what’s important, or does it just provide a list of “the cares of this world” that choke the life out of you? I’ve said before that one of the great things about America is that we get to plant our own weeds; and, it seems that we often spend more time planting weeds than wheat.
Have you ever stopped and thought that even with such a simple life, Jesus still felt it important to talk about anxiety and priorities? Perhaps the issue is not what, or even how many things vie for our attention, but our ability to remain “centered” on what is important.
What’s really important? Do we even remember?