I have a routine and personal order of priority for my life. On a typical day, my first priority is to read the bible and pray. My second priority is to get some exercise. My third priority is to eat. The days that I compromise or alter these priorities always results in a lesser fulfillment than the days which I adhere to the proper priority-order.
When I fail to properly prioritize time in devotion to the Lord and conversation with Him i experience days that begin empty; and at times, end just as empty. Days that I neglect exercise results in mornings with less energy and appreciation. When I don’t eat, I spend the morning feeling hungry.
Proper priority is important, and in the life of a Christian it is a necessity and requirement. The first priority of all Christians is our ministry calling. I know, some will say our first priority is our health, or our spouse, or our children; but this is not true. Our first priority as servants and followers of Jesus Christ is full and complete obedience to His will and call upon us. This is what Acts 20:24 states as truth:
- But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus.
I like how John Piper applies this passage:
According to the New Testament, “ministry” is what all Christians do. Pastors have the job of equipping the saints for the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12). But ordinary Christians are the ones who do the ministry.
What ministry looks like is as varied as Christians are varied. It’s not an office like elder or deacon; it’s a lifestyle devoted to making much of Christ.
It means that we “do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). Whether we are bankers or bricklayers, it means that we aim at advancing other people’s faith and holiness.
Fulfilling your ministry is more important than staying alive. This conviction is what makes the lives of radically devoted people so inspiring to watch. Most of them speak the way Paul did about his ministry here in Acts 20. Doing the ministry that God gives us to do is more important than life.
You may think you need to save your life in order to do your ministry. On the contrary, how you lose your life may be the capstone of your ministry. It certainly was for Jesus, only in his thirties.
We need not fret about keeping ourselves alive in order to finish our ministry. God alone knows the appointed time of our service.
Henry Martyn was right when he said, “If [God] has work for me to do, I cannot die.” In other words, I am immortal until my work is done. Therefore, ministry is more important than life.
Join me this week in observing the right priority. Let’s commit together to put our ministry calling first and our “life” last.