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Keep The Main Thing...The Main Thing

My Friend Debbie     Years ago as a public school music teacher, I was blessed to teach under the tutelage of a Christian principal. In our monthly after-school teachers' meetings, he would regularly remind us to "keep the main thing . . . the main thing." The school hours would be periodically inundated with opportunities for additional enrichment programs, testing sessions, recess, lunch, and the constant, yet needful, lineups to the restrooms. The main thing he was referring to consisted of two elements: nurture and teach the children!

     I have often replayed that thought in my mind as I approach my daily life of wife, mother, home-maker, and home educator. Each morning as I commune with my Heavenly Father, I ask Him, "Lord, show me today what the main thing is."

When a scribe of the law asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He answered:

"The first of all the commandments is: 'Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself..' There is no other commandment greater than these," Mark 12:29-31 (NKJV).

     If you are like me, you can become highly discouraged at these seemingly formidable commandments that in my mind only Mother Teresa has been able to accomplish!

My Friend Debbie     One of the main things I have gleaned over walking with the Lord all these years is the fact that God's Word in its totality is for my good and for His glory-it's not a menu of verses to pick and choose according to my present mood or personal agenda.

     May I encourage you this new year of 2009 to resolve to put this amazing and doable Scripture passage at the top of your priorities. In the words of Elizabeth Elliot (one of my literary spiritual mothers), "The Will of God is always possible." God will give you the grace to fulfill His commandments . . . one day at a time!

     Be ruthless in your commitment to teach God's Word to your children in family devotions. The phone can ring off the hook, the house projects may take longer than you had hoped, your desire to lose those extra holiday pounds may not be realized right away, and even your academic schooling schedule will need to take a back seat to the most important subjects-God's Word and the souls of men, women, and children.

     Remember, my friends, that there are only two things that are eternal-God's Word and the souls of men (a quote from my friends Karen Cichorz and Karen Ward). Make your daily investments wisely. You may need to put aside an afternoon of math lessons to lead your children in preparing a meal for a neighbor who needs to see the love of Jesus in action. (My children do not mind that sacrifice!)

     I have heard of moms over the years who will lament the fact that doing family devotions was just easier when they all were "little," but with the increased activities and heavier academic schedules of their teen-aged children, they simply cannot find the time to work devotions into their day any more.

     Dear friends, I urge you to still prioritize the main thing well into their teen-aged/young adult years. Just today, I did not finish "academic time" with my oldest daughter because of our scheduled Wednesday afternoon Mommy/Daughter Bible Study. We had a delightful time together sharing God's Word and praying together. Her book report she's working on can be finished tomorrow.

My Friend Debbie     We schedule everything in our lives we deem important, everything from piano lessons to soccer practices. Our senior pastor (David Addesa) once spoke of "scheduling" his one-on-one times with his children. He was honest enough to admit that if he did not schedule the time, the tyranny of the urgent would take over, and those precious times would not happen. (More on that subject next month!) Of course, the spontaneous talks do happen daily, but I'm speaking of a scheduled time where all the children come together (ours is after breakfast clean-up, and then again later in the day with Daddy after dinner) and open up God's Word for His leading in our lives. Remember, if you fail to plan, plan to fail!

     My mother told me many times in my growing up years that we all make time to do what we really want to do. When other moms question how I "do all I do" with my large family, I sometimes answer this "super-spiritual" answer, "Because I want to!"

     This New Year can certainly be filled with house projects and weight loss, but may I encourage you to make this resolution . . . to want to love the Lord your God more and love His people more. Schedule your life in accordance with this, the greatest commandment, and keep the main thing . . . the main thing!

Copyright © 2008-2015 Alyson Shedd

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