Last time I published a post on garbage in, garbage out, and it’s been bothering me ever since.  Most of what I used as examples weren’t true garbage.  If you walk around eating Pop-Tarts and bacon all day (yes, I’m waiting for the haters) or reading Playboy and watching Showtime, yep, that’s garbage.

We usually just settle for marshmallow fluff.

I have a Bible app on my phone that lets me select a devotional I can read each day.  It’s uber-easy and uber-fluffy most of the time; I usually read 1-3 actual verses in the Bible, get a little pat on the head/back from a known teacher, and go on my merry way.  While I may feel a little challenged, a little convicted, or a little happier after reading, I rarely have actually had much to reflect on for the day and I rarely make any changes.

Sometimes I read Christian novels by authors like Beverly Lewis, Karen Kingbury, Ted Dekker, or Tosca Lee.  These are all great authors and I enjoy their writing.  However, as much as these books are better than some of what I read, they’re still– generally– fluff.

I fill my life with fluff because fluff is easier.  Go to the store.  Marshmallow fluff is relatively inexpensive.  It tastes good (to some people).  It can give you a certain amount of energy.  For roughly the same price as a can of marshmallow fluff, I can buy a carton of eggs.  Same price.  Tastes good (to some people).  Gives you more energy, as well as fun little things like choline and protein.

If I can be smart enough to buy eggs over marshmallow fluff, why am I not smart enough to choose meaningful activities to fill my time over the fluffy ones?

I work 80+ hours a week and deserve a little downtime.”  (Little side note: if you’re working 80 hours a week, how are you possibly serving God with the best of your time?  Bigger side note: I’m not doing this either, so I’m nudging myself as much as I’m nudging you.)

“I really like xxxxxx (TV show, book series, author, web-zine) and I don’t want to give it up.”  (Am I asking you to give anything up?  I might be asking me to give some things up.  I’m just asking you to think about what you’re doing.)

“Without a little marshmallow fluff, you can’t make Rice Krispy Treats.”  (Fair point.  I didn’t say to give up Rice Krispy Treats or marshmallow fluff… wait, maybe I did.  Let me complete the actual thought I was getting at.)

There’s nothing wrong with an occasional treat or break.  God provides for those in the Bible.  But when the whole purpose and/or goal becomes to get that treat/break, then you’ve let your priorities get skewed.  When that happens, you end up with Cain and Abel:

In the course of time Cain brought some of the fruits of the soil as an offering to the Lord. And Abel also brought an offering—fat portions from some of the firstborn of his flock. The Lord looked with favor on Abel and his offering, but on Cain and his offering he did not look with favor. So Cain was very angry, and his face was downcast.  (Genesis 4:3-5)

Cain got upset because he was giving his offering for favor.  He wasn’t doing it as a sign of gratitude; he was doing it because he wanted God to look down and give him a deitific gold star.  Surprise!  God saw through that and gave the gold star to Abel.

So, here’s what I’m looking at:

  • I need to figure out my priorities before I can do anything else
  • I need to actually prioritize those priorities before I try to fit in anything else
  • I need to keep the “anything else” limited to things that aren’t going to mess with the priorities I just figured out

I’m a big Buffalo Bills football fan. (Cue the comments about four failed Superbowls here.)  The Bills are an east-coast team and I live on the west coast, so the games usually start around 10 a.m. local time.  This means I’m generally at church for the first half of the game.  Is it tempting to miss church for a game now and then?  Yes, it really is.  But it’s a matter of priorities.  It’s far better for me to spend my time in church, being fed and fellowshipping with other Christians, than it is to root on my team.

An occasional Rice Krispy Treat isn’t going to hurt me.  An occasional lapse in mindfulness also won’t hurt me.  However, overall, I need to be focusing on what’s best over what’s okay.

Time to get those priorities figured out… and to apply this principle to all areas of my life.

 

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