Children need to learn to prioritize, and the parents’ job is to guide them in that learning process. When we were growing up, Mom had a rule that she strictly enforced. W e had to clean the house every Friday after school before we could read “the funnies” that she hid somewhere. Because this was the pre-computer era and we didn’t have a TV, the most exciting entertainment we six siblings had (besides going next door to play with our cousins) was the comic section of the Akron Beacon Journal. So we scurried to get the house clean!
Our own children knew that homework had to be done before hitting the soccer field or reading a book; and our grandsons hurry to pick up their Legos before being allowed to play a computer game at our house. Here and in their own home, they are learning what comes first.
As God’s children, we need to learn what to do first, too. Thankfully, He teaches us. Thousands of years ago God reminded His people that loving Him must precede serving Him. In Deuteronomy 10:12,13 we read: “…what does the Lord your God require of you, but to …love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul…?” That same requirement is reinforced in Deuteronomy 11:13: “…love the Lord your God, and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul…”
Fast forwarding to Christ’s ministry on earth, we join a dinner party at Martha and Mary’s. Isn’t that account in Luke 10:38-42 all about priorities? Isn’t the underlying message “Love Jesus first, then serve Him”? Isn’t that the same message God gave His people a few millenniums earlier? In fact, isn’t that what He’s still trying to teach us today?
Loving Jesus first, in His own words, is “that good part, which will not be taken away…” (Luke 10:42). Loving Him first shapes our behavior, freeing us to love and serve Him and others the way He loved and served. Let’s follow God’s plan that He laid out thousands of years ago, and love Him first. Service will follow…love Jesus, then serve Him!