P riorities drive organization and structure. When you think about what is important for you, you build around that. This is true on every level of our society – from government to corporations to households. It might be harder to see in a larger scale, but it is easy to see on a personal level.
Take your calendar for instance. This is a structure in your life. Some are more structured than others. Our family calendar is so crazy that we have our calendars structured so that we have real-time access to each other’s calendars via our phones. If I make a change on my calendar, it is immediately reflected on Heather’s calendar, and vice versa. This is a structure in our lives and it communicates a great deal about our family’s priorities. We have built our calendar to reflect our priorities. This means that there are certain calendar pieces that are virtually nonnegotiable. For instance, we make supper together as a family a priority. Even if we’re running from here to there, 99% of the time, we sit down and have dinner together. Obviously, church is a nonnegotiable for our family. Our calendar is structured to reflect that priority.
So, what does your calendar say about your priorities? What is of utmost importance to you? How much time do you spend doing that which you believe to be important? Priorities drive structure. The same could be said about your checkbook (or your debit card nowadays), even the way you have set up your home. How many of us, for example, have structured our living room around a television? What do these structures say about our priorities?
What about the church? The church is a highly organized, structured entity. When we consider the structures of our church, we can’t help but think about budgets and buildings, classes and committees, leaders and laymen. But what does that organization say about our priorities?
So, what would the church be like if we had nothing but the Scriptures? We would have to make sure that the priorities that drive our structures were informed by those Scriptures. There are some structures that are outlined in the Bible. Our leadership would continue to be made up of pastors and deacons. Our corporate worship would take place on the Lord’s Day (Sunday). And in our ministry endeavors, we would certainly pay close attention to orphans and widows. There are no doubt many other structures and organizations that would be built out of our biblical list of priorities.The dangerous question that we must ask is what structures and organizations would not sustain the test of biblical priority? How would our budgets change? How would our calendars change? How would our programs change? How many programs would no longer find value? The most important question that we must consider is “What does Jesus think about our organization?” Even if He is pleased with the mission and the motive of our church, is He pleased with the organization that we have built to sustain that mission.
This is the same question that can be asked about our families as well. In the end of Luke 9, Jesus encountered people who wanted to follow Jesus but who were unwilling to change the organization of their life to match that priority. In no uncertain terms, Jesus reminded them that they were not quite fit to take title of disciple. Do our priorities reflect the priorities of a disciple?