How do you start your day? Cup of coffee? Shower? Exercise? Snooze button? I know not everyone can be a “morning person” but the day has to start somewhere for everyone, no matter what time actually ticks on the clock. For many, it feels like we’re behind the eight-ball the moment our eyes pop open and our feet hit the floor.
There are few guarantees in this life. But what if I could practically guarantee there is one thing you could do that would dramatically improve your day? Even better, if you were to make this a habit and do it most every day, it would make your life better. You might even call it an abundant life.
This one thing is your daily, personal fellowship and worship of The Lord. I’m not talking about church attendance though of course being plugged in with the local church is important and an integral part of the Christian life. But your one-on-one moments with the King in the quiet of your day before your day gets away from you is paramount to eternal effectiveness.
“We’d rather serve God than know God. But God uses those the most who know Him the best.” – Cubby Culbertson
This is a great quote from a ministry friend that succinctly sums up our natural bias for activity over intimacy. One of the best story lines in the Bible that highlight how important intimacy is to abundant Christian living is through the personal example of Jesus Himself, found in places like Mark 1:35:
“In the early morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went away to a secluded place, and was praying there.”
So of course the natural question is if Jesus prioritized His day like this, how much more should we? Some call this “putting the big rock in the jar first.” If we don’t take the time to seek Him first, the day will bring an inevitable onslaught of tasks and thoughts that take on a life of their own, often leaving us unfocused, frazzled and out of breath.
Here’s another helpful quote I keep handy to remind me of the importance of daily having the proper priorities. It is from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the WWII-era German pastor who was executed just before the war was over in 1945 for his part in a failed assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler.
“The entire day receives order and discipline in morning prayer. The morning prayer determines the day. Squandered time of which we are ashamed, temptations to which we succumb, weaknesses and lack of courage in work, disorganization and lack of discipline in our thoughts and in our conversation with others, all have their origin most often in the neglect of morning prayer.”
In 1997, my pastor in Greeneville, TN preached a sermon in which he encouraged us to “get our orders in the morning.” As a demanding, hectic schedule is sure to consume yet another day, I want to make sure my day starts with the proper focus in the spirit of Matthew 6:33. How about you?