I’m learning to use a new piece of software at work that builds models of rivers. It’s a very clever piece of software and it can simulate river flows under different conditions and highlight where flooding may occur along a watercourse.
Now there are several people in the office who use this piece of software almost every day. They are experts and understand in detail the various numbers, parameters and factors that need to be input into the model to get the most reliable results. I am no expert. Although I understand the theory behind the models and I can use the results they produce, I have no idea how to actually construct a model myself. Cue lots of guide books, random silly questions and pained expressions from me as I try to work out what the heck I’m doing!
Whilst reading through the various user manuals, guides and helpful notes, something struck me as being very simple but very important to the success of my model. The order in which I input the information into the software, and the way in which I label and prioritise it, can make or break the model.
If I input the details in the right order, and remember to number them the right way, then the model will run and it will be stable. And it will produce the results I need. If I put something in the wrong order then the model will crash or be unstable. It will then produce results that cannot be used or no results at all.
It got me thinking about the importance of order and priorities in my life. How is my life impacted by the rank or precedence I give things? Am I less productive, do I produce fewer results, because things in my life are in the wrong order? Am I stable and running efficiently, or unstable and likely to crash?
The bible is our user manual, our guide, our resource for living. So what does it have to say about how we should order and prioritise things?
Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Matthew 6:25-34 (emphasis added)
Someone once described it to me by comparing it to buttoning up a shirt. If you get the top button right, all the others fall into place and are lined up. If you try to start in the middle or get the top button wrong, all the others will be in the wrong place too.
This week I have realised that I have been striving to make things happen for myself, and it has put other things out of place as a result. I have become unstable and crashed a few times which has caused hurt and upset in other people. I have placed my value and security in the opinion of others and not in God. I have not sought His kingdom first. I have tried to take my future into my own hands and make it work in my own strength. I have had the wrong perspective.
Lord, I pray that I may learn to seek your kingdom and righteousness first. That I may get the order of things right in my life. That I may allow you to be in control over the other things that should always come after you. I pray that you may be able to use my life, that I may be stable. And that I may produce results that are pleasing to you.