176HPerry Emerick – Mesa Campus Pastor
Snap quiz…who gets the very best of you? Who is your greatest priority and receives the best of your attention, efforts, focus and sacrifice? I’m sure what you want to say with all integrity is that those who get the best of you are God, Family, friends and work in that order. But is that really true? Perhaps for a few, they are able to do this. More than likely though, we are all guilty of giving our best efforts and finest work and attention to things and people that may make us feel good in the moment, then give our leftovers to those who we have noted are the most important to us. If you are unclear about what I am talking about, let me give you a little test to help give you some perspective:

  • Whose phone call will you interrupt a conversation to answer, your spouses or your bosses?
  • At the end of a long work day your boss asks you to run a quick errand for him and then your wife asks you to stop at the store to pick up some milk on the way home…who gets the more agreeable response?
  • Your friend asks you if you can get out of work early to play golf (or whatever you and your friends love most) and your spouse asks if you can get off early to pick up the kids…which one will you make more effort for?
  • Your boss says something you didn’t appreciate and so does your spouse, which one will you be more respectful of when talking about it?
  • How often have you skipped a planned time to reading and quiet time because of other work that you felt needed to be done?
The thing is, it is easy to say that our priority is God, family, friends, and work, but so often it is quite the opposite. I know for me it is very easy to give my best thought, attitude, grace, effort, and energy to my work than my family, and even God if I am being completely honest. Why is that? Long ago, I remember a conversation I had with Cal in which he talked about this dynamic as far as the significance of the relationship and the amount of noise they make if you get off track with them. For example, if you miss a day of work or some project deadline, you’re likely going to hear about it quickly and loudly. And if it becomes a pattern, it becomes a problem with a lot of focus. It can be somewhat that way with friends too, but not nearly to the same degree. How often have our friends dropped a bit of guilt on us because we haven’t called them enough or some other aspect of the relationship that has dropped. However, when we get to our families, they may be upset, but likely they will chalk it up to “that’s how it is” and find something else to do. However, when it comes to God, likely our highest priority, he does not come knocking at our door or nagging us to get our act together. That isn’t to say that he doesn’t want to be the priority…in fact he calls us to seek him first. Matthew 6:33 admonishes us to
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
All too often we give our relational leftovers to those we say we love and care about the most. Maybe it’s because we don’t feel like we need to impress them anymore. Maybe it’s because we just expect them to be there. Maybe we just don’t get that feel good feeling by serving them like we used too. Maybe we just don’t care as much. And then one day we wonder why we find ourselves disconnected, distant, and nowhere near where we wanted to be relationally with those who are supposed to closest to us. Each day is a new opportunity to choose to give our best not just to our work and friends, but to our God and families, because God gave his best to us. And just to be clear, it isn’t to earn his love, it’s to reflect it, back to him, and to others. And certainly those who are closest to us deserves just as much as those who are not.

Relational Leftovers

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