Feb 18, 2016

Preeminent Priorities

On most typical Saturday mornings from Thanksgiving through March 1st you will find me on an outdoor rink playing hockey. This has been something that I guard because I value the time, it feeds my soul, and it is a great stress reliever. 
I don’t let anything take this time away from me; not tiredness, or illness, or injuries will stop me from playing….not even the weather.

We play when the actual air temperature is thirty degrees below zero, until the spring sun melts the ice that we skate on as the temperatures reach forty degrees above zero.
So for me to miss a hockey game is monumental and incredibly rare because playing hockey is a huge priority in my life.
I only miss a game because I have chosen to give priority to something else that is preeminent (Eminent above or before others; superior; surpassing)…Something else that I will give the right to precede others in order, rank, privilege, etc.; precedence…Something else that I will give special attention to.
It happened this Saturday; I actually chose to not play hockey because I knew that something else in my life has a preeminent priority over hockey. What was it? Attending a marriage retreat; something Cathy and I haven’t done for three or four years. We both pour into couples and individuals in order that they can have good marriages, but don’t always take time away to pour into our own marriage.
I signed up as soon as I heard the announcement at church this year that there would be a weekend marriage retreat. I signed up not because our marriage needed help; no, it isn’t in crisis mode. I signed up knowing it would include giving up playing hockey because I wanted Cathy to KNOW that our marriage has a preeminent priority over everything in my life.
It is more important than all of the couples we work with who are struggling or engaged and getting ready to get married. Our marriage is more important than my work, my passions, my leisure, my children, my grandchildren; yes even playing hockey.
This past year, one of my daughters and her husband gave me a Father’s Day card that said; “Happy Father’s Day to a man who loves sports almost as much as his own children!” Inside of the card it said; “Just kidding – We know you love sports more. Happy Father’s Day!”
I want Cathy to know that our marriage is the highest priority surpassed only by my time with the Lord. But talking about it or sending cards on our anniversary, Valentines’ Day, Christmas, and her birthday doesn’t fulfill this. No, using my time to grow in our love for each other and to make our marriage stronger has to be given preeminent priority over playing hockey.
Priorities are not what we say they are, but rather what we actually do. Priorities are seen by others in how we act, talk, walk, and spend our time and resources. A friend of mine says that the easiest way to see what your priorities are is by looking at your checkbook…how did you spend your money? Where did you spend your time?
So what does your daily timesheet show as to how you spent your time; what does your bank record reveal as to how you spent your money?
The bad news is that if we were to place our records on the table for others to see, we really don’t use our money and our time to do what we really say are our priorities.
The good news is that today is a new day; today we get a do-over. Today we can set a new course to give priority to the people, events, and things that we say are our priorities; even if one your priorities has been to spend more time with God…but everything else has blocked out your time.
Are you ready to give preeminence to your priorities? Here is my suggestion for you: Work with God and let Him take you through the process; you will find that the results will affect everyone in your life. Finally, you will be able to do what you really want to do and some of the results will be eternal.
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