‘You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.’
― John Maxwell
I recently read a book that my brother recommended called, ‘Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less’ by Greg McKeown and it has been nothing short of life-changing.
It is not a spiritual book, but a practical one about rethinking our priorities and what we spend our time, energy and money on. It is about making sure that we are focused on what is most important and allowing other demands to drop lower down our to-do list. Or even to drop off the list altogether.
If there was ever a time in history when we need the ability to sift out the non-essential so we can focus on the essential, it is now with all the distractions that 2019 has to offer.
In Matthew chapter 22.37-40, Jesus is asked what is the most important commandment. So, the Son of God takes the law, every commandment and detailed moral requirement in the Torah, and He distils it down to just two.
Love God. Love people.
These are simple words but they are not easy ones. Because, like the rich, young ruler found out, our time and resources are finite and it is so tempting to spend them on earthly trinkets, leaving no budget for eternal treasures.
Living a life of essentialism means believing that we have choices to make every single day if we are going to invest in what matters. It means knowing that we cannot have everything. It means resisting the urge to spread ourselves thinly so we can excel at a few important things instead.
I read the Sermon on the Mount today. These verses are rich and challenging. They paint a beautiful picture of following God, loving what He loves and putting value on what He values. As I read the passage this afternoon, I felt the Holy Spirit recalibrate my heart; like a spiritual compass helping me to point north again.
Because, if we want to live life well, there really are priorities.
Inspired by the passage in Matthew 5-7, I have written a few things that I want to be intentional about over the coming months. Maybe they will help you to think about your own life and what is essential to you.
The person that I am becoming greatly matters to God so I will let Him work on me.
I am here for a reason so I will be a light, somehow, every single day.
Unforgiveness comes between me and God so I will refuse to entertain it.
Some things matter in eternity but most do not. I determine to live like I believe that.
I can only have one boss so I will make sure it is God.
There isn’t enough time in the day for both powerful prayer and compulsive worry so I will choose prayer, whether I feel like it or not.
It is the easiest thing in the world to know about what the Bible says but never obey it. I have decided that won’t be my story.
Not everyone who thinks that they know God actually does. If I do nothing else, I will make sure I know God.
Take some time this week to think about what is really essential to you. Write your values down and put them somewhere where you will see them. Ask for grace to rearrange life so what really matters takes its rightful place in your schedule. Be brave. Let some things go. Worship God with how you spend your time.
Dare to live like you believe everything that God has said is true and that nothing matters more than being part of what He is doing.
(these pictures are from the place in Northern Israel where it is believed Jesus gave the Sermon on the Mount.)