February 2020: Balancing Life and Priorities

Two men sitting on a boat dock enjoying the evening

Theme: New Year, New You

Scripture: Psalm 23

“He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” 

Psalms 23: 2b-3a

Opener

How do you balance work, life, and all the other priorities in your life?

Thoughts

Psalms 23 is best known for its comfort in times of struggle, trials, and even death; however, it goes beyond the comforting and reminds us that our lives were meant to be lived fully but with an appropriate amount of rest.

Although Psalm 23 provides comfort for those who do not know Christ, the passage is meant as a reminder to those who know our Lord.

Verse 1 explicitly shares:

“The Lord is MY Shepherd.” – The psalmist (David) knows that the Lord is his shepherd. He has an intimate relationship with the Lord.

This passage encourages us to rest in the Lord, to spend time with Him, to not run from here to there without taking time for rest.

As I (Dave) was preparing for this month, I had been charging headlong into work and outside commitments with boards and a fair amount of travel. I think the Lord took the time to remind me that rest is vital to my physical health (as I am now recovering from sickness) as well as my spiritual health.

He calls us to spend time in the meadow or our green pastures, to stop our busy lives once a week and enjoy a Sabbath.

Our lives are filled with activities: work, family commitments, church functions, friends, dating, marriage, kids, and we often forget to stop and breathe for a few minutes. 

Each of these things is not bad by themselves, but when they push us to exhaustion, we have taken God out of the equation and built our life around the priorities of the temporal instead of the eternal.

This month our focus is on balancing work, life, and priorities, but with an emphasis on finding one day a week to take a breath and enjoy a Sabbath.

Questions

  • Do you take a Sabbath rest day and what does it look like?
  • Why do you think we push ourselves to exhaustion?
  • In the Ten Commandments, Exodus 20:8-10 commands us to “Remember the Sabbath and to keep it holy.”Why do you think God needed to remind Israel (and us) of this command?
  • What are some ways that we can implement a Sabbath if we have not done it before or in a while?

Steven Covey shared an illustration with a class one day. He had a jar and began to fill it with big rocks. Once done, he asked the class if the jar was full – most answered “yes”.

He then added pebbles and repeated the question – most said “no it wasn’t”. He then added small gravel, then sand, and then water. At that point, he indicated the jar was full.

Covey then asked the class why he put in the big rocks first. He shared that if the big rocks went in last, they would never get it in the jar, but by being placed in the jar first, the most important rocks were placed.

The rocks represent time on our schedules. If we take time to put the most important rocks (or blocks of time on our schedule), we assure ourselves they will get done.

These rocks are different for each one of us. For some that will be kids’ activities. For others, that will be vacations, and for others, it’s something else entirely.

  • What big rocks go on your schedule?
  • Where does rest enter your schedule?
  • Ask God to show you what big rocks need to be on your schedule, and how you can begin a Sabbath rest. 

Prayer

  • Tim & Ceci Ramsey – Missionaries to Bolivia
  • Elders

Resources

I am the host of an ABF Lifegroup - a collection of folks doing community and life together. We are a ministry of Agoura Bible Fellowship. When I am not leading this group, I love to travel, take photographs, share stories, and design workspaces that matter.

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