I don’t know about you but when it comes to looking after number one, I’m pretty good at it, ashamedly so. I wouldn’t like to hazard a guess to how much of my day I spend looking after my own priorities – by that I mean thinking about my own needs instead of those around me.
Some would argue that this is no such thing as a selfless act, that even when doing things for others the giver is still benefiting for the warm glow of satisfaction. I think that this is going too far. There are certainly many acts of sacrifice that people make everyday that they neither enjoy or get satisfaction from. Anyone who is a parent knows this. Disciplining our children is always difficult for a parent but it’s a very necessary and vital part of the child’s development.
Looking after number one can take a lot of time. There is a lot to sort out! By the time I’ve written my many lists of all the things I have to do there is little time left for anyone else. Of course, many of the things on my list are necessary and are often for the direct benefit of others, so what’s the problem?
Well, it’s not the list of tasks or the actual acts that are the problem. It’s the focus. Even in the planning list of priorities, whether for myself or others, there is the potential to focus on the wrong things. I therefore start rushing about doing things that are sometimes unnecessary and occasionally completely unhelpful. This isn’t just about whether I’m being selfish, thinking of only of myself. No. It’s about first and foremost having my focus on the only one that can help give me a clear perspective on life.
By focusing my attention on God I stop looking at my own needs, stop looking at the list of everything that needs doing, even stop looking at the needs of everyone else. And as I gaze at my father I find total acceptance, complete forgiveness, wholeness and peace. He then helps me to order my thoughts, shows me things I hadn’t noticed and then I can begin to get my priorities straight.
My outlook for the coming day has fundamentally changed. Now, as I go about my tasks, I am mindful of the people I meet. I am sensitive to what is going on in their lives. I am relaxed when trouble comes my way. And at the end of the day, I find that everything that needed to be done has been achieved. Why not start today by getting your focus onto the one who can help determine the right steps for the coming day?
We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps. Proverbs 16:9