Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Today’s Topic: Priorities
Today’s Text: Ephesians 6:4 (ESV) Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
George Mallory was an English mountaineer who took part in the first three British expeditions to Mount Everest in the early 1920s. Mallory and his climbing partner both disappeared somewhere high on the North-East ridge during their attempt to make the first ascent of the world’s highest mountain.
Before his disappearance, when Mallory was asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, he famously answered, “Because it is there.” But on another occasion George expanded his answer:
If you cannot understand that there is something in man which responds
to the challenge of this mountain and goes out to meet it, that the struggle is the struggle of life itself upward and forever upward, then you won’t see why we go. What we get from this adventure is just sheer joy. And joy is, after all, the end of life.
A personal letter to George’s wife, Ruth, reveals even more about what drove him to climb the mountain. “Dearest,” he wrote, “… you must know that the spur to do my best is you and you again …. I want more than anything to prove worthy of you.”
However, although George Mallory became famous for his achievements, his son John had a different perspective. Proud of his father but sad too, John would later write, “I would so much rather have known my father than to have grown up in the shadow of a legend, a hero, as some people perceive him to be.”
Here was a man who had wrong priorities, yet we call him a hero. Joy is not the highest objective of life. The priority of life is not to prove ourselves worthy to anyone. That priority is symptomatic of a deep need for identity and proof of personal value which will never be found in the pursuit of accomplishments but only in the pursuit of Jesus Christ. The result of such misaligned priorities is the loss of personal relationships as witnessed by Mallory’s son John. Whenever the priorities of life are determined by personal need or selfish ambition we will hurt the very ones we may be trying to impress.
Today I will totally accept God’s declaration that He has qualified me in Christ and that I have nothing more to earn or prove. (Colossians 1:12) Having done that, I will invest in relationships that are primarily giving in nature, not getting. Out of the abundance of peace and joy that are now mine because my identity in Christ is sufficient, my priority will be to give of myself to benefit others. I will do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than myself. I will look not only to my own interests, but also to the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4)
My priority will be others, not self.