Thursday, November 5, 2009

Put First Things First

*before I post the second part to yesterday's discussion, I wanted to include this good illustration/experiment from the 'Young People Ask -Vol. 2' book, on pg 294, about time management and giving spiritual things first priority. -Which is half the battle, since maintaining a regular spiritual routine is at the heart of what helps us to cultivate self-control in the first place...also there's a funny true-life experience relating to this topic, included beneath it.

Too busy to pray? No time for Bible study?
Often, it comes down to how you set your priorities.

Try this experiment: Take a bucket, and place several large rocks inside it. Now fill the bucket with sand - all the way to the top. You now have a bucket full of rocks and sand.

Now empty the bucket, but keep the same sand and rocks. Try the process in reverse: Fill the bucket with sand and then try to place the rocks inside the bucket. No room? That's because this time you put the sand in the bucket first.

The point? The Bible says: "Make sure of the more important things." (Philippians 1:10) If you put small things like recreation in first place, you'll never seem to have enough room in your life for the big things - spiritual pursuits. But if you follow the Bible's admonition, you'll find that you have room for both Kingdom interests and a measure of recreation. It's all a matter of what you put in your bucket first!

That's such a simple but powerful way to illustrate the point, isn't it? And although I haven't 'literally' tested out the bucket experiment, I've noted the effects of it all throughout my life. -Anytime I've gone off track in the past, or become spiritually 'unbalanced' by getting too caught up with school, work, and entertainment, it was always at the same time that I began slacking off with my daily Bible reading and prayer. But as soon as I got focused and back on track again with a regular spiritual anchored me and balanced me out in all aspects of life (not just spiritual ones).
You can tell that's the reason why the kings of Israel were commanded to read God's word daily as well, as pointed out here:
"And it must occur that when he takes his seat on the throne of his kingdom, he must write in a book for himself a copy of this law...And it must continue with him, and he must read in it all the days of his life, in order that he may learn to fear Jehovah his God so as to keep all the words of this law and these regulations by doing them." (Deuteronomy 17:18, 19)
-too bad so many kings failed to do it! -since that would have played a major role in preventing them from 'straying off course' from the law, and would have also contributed to their overall ability to govern the people successfully by maintaining peace, order, and justice.

(Ok here's a funny experience from the 'foreward' of the 2006 'Examining the Scriptures Daily')

A group of Witnesses were returning home from their meeting one Sunday evening. As they approached a checkpoint on the highway, a policeman waved to order them to pull the car off the road. While doing so, the driver spoke up and said that they were Jehovah's Witnesses and were returning from a Christian meeting.
Instead of asking to see their papers, the policeman said to the driver, "Since you say you are a Witness, tell me, what is the daily text for today?" The brother was at a loss. The policeman then asked the front passenger, but he could not answer either. Turning to those in the backseat, the officer said, "One of you should bail the rest out by telling me what today's text is." Everyone was silent, for none of them had the answer.
"You don't seem to know what the text is, or perhaps you have forgotton," said the policeman, trying to be helpful. "Tell me at least from what part of the Bible it is taken, and then you can go."
Embarrassed, one in the group explained, "None of us seem to have considered the text this morning, and this happens sometimes when we are in a hurry." Then he added, "But we will make sure that we consider the text later or at least before the day is out."
"Examining the Scriptures Daily means that you have to start your day with reading it," responded the officer. "When does the day start? If you considered it at night, how can you use it that day? Or do you want to use it while sleeping or dreaming?" Then the policeman broke out in laughter, and so did all in the car.
"You can go," he said, waving them on. "But make sure you consider your text each day before you go out."
That true-life experience teaches a sobering lesson. People who claim to live by what the Bible teaches ought to give evidence that they take in its instruction regularly. Of course, we do not know exactly why that policeman made such a strong point about reading the text and comments. Perhaps, as a law enforcement officer, he appreciated the value of God's Word in directing people to live their life in the right way. Whatever the case, he evidently knew that Jehovah's Witnesses are good people who study God's Word and follow its direction.
If a member of law enforcement feels so strongly about reading the text and comments each day - and possibly doing so early in the day - should we not be equally concerned?
The Bible clearly indicates that we are living in "critical times hard to deal with." (2 Timothy 3:1) Every day, we are confronted with tremendous pressures and obstacles as we endeavor to live "a calm and quiet life with full godly devotion and seriousness." (1 Timothy 2:2) Does it not make sense for us to turn to God's Word regularly for guidance, encouragement, and comfort?

*maybe the policeman's wife or family member was a JW, and he was messing with them, but either way that's funny huh? =)