The Parish of Burchetts Green

The Rev'd Keith Nicholls writes

Rev Keith

Getting our priorities right

Recognising the really important

As I write this we're in mid-August and summer is drawing to a close, although the weather forecasters are telling us that there may be a warm week or two to come. I find the pace of life slows during August and 1 can begin catching up with the backlog. August is a holiday month. August is a quieter month - although those of you with young children may not agree!

I don't know about you, but for me the first week or so back at work after a holiday is amongst the hardest. It's not just the mound of post and emails that are waiting for me, I also find it hard to get up to speed again.

My mind resists the fact that the holiday is over and I now have to get on with things. It's as if the break anaesthetises my mind and I just don't see what is really important amongst the plethora of items on my desk. If I find myself burning the midnight oil, the chances are it will be because I have not got round to picking up something important after a holiday break.

We can live life like that. Modern life is lived at a hectic pace. The sheer quantity of things we think we must deal with and choices we have can anaesthetise us from ever identifying and considering the really important.

Being prepared

The Scriptures exhort us to be prepared, to live each day as if it were our last, as indeed it might be. 'The road to hell is paved with good intentions.' Our true priorities are revealed by what we do, not what we say we intend. We do have the ability to chose our priorities. We manage to find the time to pursue our priorities and those choices give away where our heart really is - we can 'store up treasures on earth' money, status, power - ultimately a futile occupation - or we store up treasures in heaven.

We have to decide

God will not open up his heavenly banquet to those who intend to explore the spiritual life but never get around to it, nor those who believe but who lives that are, quite frankly, more or less unaffected by their stated belief.This doesn't mean spending every moment, on our knees, or in church. The spiritual life is to be lived amidst ordinary life, not apart from it. Normal life goes on - work, family, friendship, leisure - but normal life also goes on with different priorities - the priorities of the kingdom of God.

'You must be ready,' Jesus said. 'For the Son of Man is coming at an unexpected hour,' I wonder, are we giving sufficient priority to the spiritual side of life? Or is the richness of everyday life crowding out our prayers, our worship of God and our coming to know him in the Scriptures? Are we playing our part in building the kingdom of God? If not, perhaps this is the timestart doing something about it.