I was the last one to leave my house one morning, and on my way, I grabbed a note that was left for me.
It said, "Please water the plants and let the dogs out before you leave. And put your dishes in the washer."
Below her note, in different handwriting, was added, "And stop by the store on the way home and get some candy". That was written by my daughter.
Not to be outdone, my son added, "Put $1 million into my bank account". To his credit, he added a smiley face.
Now, if I asked you to put these five instructions in order of importance, could you do it? I bet you could, but I most certainly could! I know the authors and what is going behind each instruction. Effortlessly, I can discern what is most important, less important, and not important.
However, if you or I were to read each instruction literally, at face value, as if they were equally important simply because they were written on the same note, and each sound like direct commands, not only would you not be able to prioritize them, you would be in big trouble as you tried to obey them.
I used to make this mistake with the Bible. I would read each instruction, regardless of the context, the author, or its relative importance, as if they were equal.
Simply because they were all written in the same Bible.
But according to the Bible, not all verses are created equal. Not all commands are created equal. There are matters of first importance, matters of lessor importance, debatable matters, and even matters that have little importance at all. Don't get me wrong... ALL scripture is useful, but not all scripture is equally useful or important.
This is not my opinion. I am not making this up, nor am I arbitrarily going to choose which priorities in scripture are more important than others. Scripture does this itself. No one short of Jesus does this. Remember that when he was asked what the most important command was, he answered (with two)! Then he added that the rest of scripture falls down on the priority list under those two.
This is so helpful, if you will allow it to be. See, the consequences of me not watering the plants is way bigger than the consequences of me not stopping for candy on the way home. Additionally, my not doing what my wife asks of me is also way more important than my not doing what my daughter asks of me.
Today, we will take a look at what scripture says is most important, and what is less so.
Questions? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will try to addresse it in this series.