If you’re like most people, you set goals and establish priorities that flow out of them.
Sometimes you’re satisfied with the progress you make.
And sometimes not.
And if you’re like me, you might wonder why at times you say something priority and yet you don’t seem to accomplish much.
The truth is simple.
Saying something is a priority doesn’t make it a priority.
Why is that?
A few years ago I isolated two factors that I think accurately describe where our true priorities lie.
Your bank statement.
Show me your bank statement and show me your calendar, and I’ll tell you where your true priorities are.
Regardless of what you’ve written down on some list, and regardless of what you tell yourself, these two things reveal the most about you.
The first thing your bank statement and calendar do is describe what your true priorities are today.
When you look at how much money you’re spending on…
The kids (and their extra activities)
…it reveals what your true priorities are. You might not think you’re a fashionista, but if you’re spending $200 a month on new clothes and you only give $50 a month to your local church, it tells you where your heart is.
I didn’t say this was pleasant. But it is true.
If you are investing more in vacations than you are in the Kingdom, or more on a hobby than on your marriage, it just tells you something.
Same thing when you audit your calendar:
How much time you spend
Out with friends
…tells you what your true priorities lie.
You might not like the answer, but at least it’s honest. (Remember, of all the lies we tell, the ones we tell to ourselves can be the most deadly.)
Here’s why time and money are so revealing:
I’m not sure it’s possible to make something a priority without it costing time and money.
You say love doesn’t cost anything? My guess is if you really love her, you will eventually take her out on a date. Even Burger King costs money. (And my guess is if you take her to Burger King, that might say something about how you truly feel.)
Ultimately there will be a ring, and a wedding (even on the cheap, they cost), and…wait for it…you will likely agree to spend the rest of your life together. That’s time.
While how we spend time and money reveal our personal priorities, they also reveal your organization’s priorities.
Churches who say family is important and spend 1% of their budget on ministry to families reveal their true priorities by what they spend, not by what they say.
Time and money reveal true personal and organizational priorities.
So what do you do with all this?
To make something a priority, increase the time and money you spend on it.
To make something less of a priority, spend less time and money on it.
It’s that simple. If you spend time and money on ‘it’, ‘it’ becomes a priority. (I blogged on how I use time to accomplish priorities here).
Ask any athlete who runs marathons. Ask anyone who drills wells for clean water in Africa. Ask any mom who home schools. Ask any entrepreneur who poured his life savings into his idea. Ask any who’s passionate about bringing people to Christ. How you allocate your time and money determines your priorities.
By the way, none of this is new. Jesus taught on this principle: your treasure reveals where you heart actually is.
So…what do you think your priorities should be? Simply go and adjust your time and money, and you will see a change. Don’t, and you won’t.
What do you think? Do you agree? Is there another way to see this?