Order of Importance

This week I’ve had to pay for gasoline bordering on the steep side.  This week I pulled a muscle in my leg, and it hurts.  This week I couldn’t keep track of my mechanical pencils and had to settle for dull pencils, I got a bill reminder for a doctor’s visit back in February, I forgot to get graham cracker crust while I was at Wal-Mart, I was late for a meeting, and I got frozen peanut butter cookie dough instead of making cookies from scratch like I wanted to do to show off.

All that, though, slides into the fading background as I think about my grandma.

Grandma–“Meme” to me–had surgery yesterday on her thyroid.  The doctor cut a big line across her neck.  She was awake when I got to see her yesterday.  She had been stitched up, but blood oozed out from a place on her neck that had been glued instead of stitched, and the glue wasn’t holding.  Her voice was raspy and she was wearing a hospital gown not remotely close to deserving to be worn by such a beautiful woman.

My grandma had surgery yesterday on her thyroid.  She was hooked up to a machine and had orange sherbert for dinner.  She said she wasn’t in too much pain, but she had to squeeze her eyes shut every time she swallowed.  She had a blood pump to keep the internal wound from clotting and a vigilant nurse.  The family was all squished into a smallish cream-yellow hospital room.

The order of importance . . it’s different now.

I wonder if it’s really so important my phone’s touchscreen annoys me or my organic shoestring potato fries are out of stock.  No, really, I don’t even need to wonder.  I realize.  Much of the time, my order of importance is junk.

If one of my favorite earrings breaks or I have to make a long business call, what real importance should things like this have in my life?  And where does what really matters go on my priority list?  Down to the bottom?

Reminders about our contorted order are throughout life.  A friend struggles with breast cancer, a parent falls ill, a child dies in an accident.  The order of our life is flipped upside down, and we have a rare glimpse, a bit of a taste, of what eternity must be like . . where the most important is treated as the most important . . and the least important finds its place far below.

My grandma’s surgery reminded me of the order of importance so often jumbled up in my self-consumed, attracted-to-the-worthless sin nature.

And I think . . as a Christian, I have staked my life on the belief that Jesus is real, His sacrifice good.  But how often do I really think about the radical flipping this does to my order of importance?

If God Himself chose to give up all the glory of Heaven to come and serve me . . . if His order of importance was that I mattered more than staying in the perfect joy of Heaven . . if He was willing to be spit on and and have nails hammered through his hands so He could pay for my sin (that He in no way owed to pay for) . . if He placed me as a priority over personal happiness, peace, importance, and safety . . what should my order of importance be for Him and what He wants me to do?

Here I am, Lord.  YOU are my priority.

Thank you, Meme, for the reminder.

One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

“The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” (Mark 12:28-33, NIV)

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