Shifting Focus

“…there was evening and there was morning, the _______ day.”

What is the first thing you do at the beginning of the day? Usually what we think about first thing in the morning is where our daily priorities lie. This thought has been convicting to me because I will plan out the day to see what I will accomplish during the day. So, my priorities, at times, are all about accomplishing tasks and work so it’s done and done the best I can do it.

Every time I think about these words from Scripture in Genesis 1, I begin to meditate on the concept that we have our priorities backwards and it’s time we shift focus to what is most important. So now the question we all need to answer is, “what is really the most important aspect of your life?” Being able to truthfully and passionately answer this question answers the “why” or the motivation of why we do what we do.

Relationships are the most important part of life for me; at least this is what I hope to demonstrate on a daily basis. I believe the Jewish faith and culture has the beginning of the day correct. The days begin at 6:00pm and go through 6:00pm the following day. With this in mind, what we do in the evening of the day is crucial.

Imagine rethinking how we view our day, and the time our days begin. Let’s truly shift our focus to what really matters in this life. It all begins from a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. From this relationship we show others how much they are valued. Our motivation to work each day should include providing for our family and to give God the glory because we have the opportunity to do this work.

Now, let’s think about another way we can arrange our day to keep the real focus of our lives as the “why” of what we do. After coming come in the evenings from a day of work, we have the opportunity to spend time with our family. Then we rest and go back to work the following day. This is different from how we normally think about how our day goes: get up, go to work, then spend time with the family or our friends. Relationships in this way of thinking are put on the back burner in our minds and get the least amount of attention.

So how would our day go, and how much more fruitful would our relationships be if we shifted from thinking work was the most important part of our day to relationships being the most important part? I am beginning to believe more and more that “…there was evening and there was morning” is how we should live our lives. Develop relationships first. The evening time (which includes dinner) is a great time to cultivate and nourish our family and friends. Then we take the time to rest at night in order to prepare for the final part of the day, work.

This also means that our relationship with God through Jesus Christ should be the most important relationship to develop first, then the relationship with our family and friends. Without the grace and love of Jesus Christ it will be difficult, and impossible for many, to be able to show our own family and friends how much they are truly valued and appreciated.

I am continually working on this concept daily. It is challenging; but shifting our focus is important and healthy for all aspects of our lives.

Published by Ryan Stratton

Ryan Stratton is a pastor in the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church. He serves with his wife, Amanda, along with their children. He writes about life, faith, and leadership through his blog.

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