“But strive for greater gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.”St. Paul (1 Cor 12:31)
Whether we intend to or not, we prioritize our life with our actions. We choose to put our energy in place by way of organizing or procrastinating. We may prioritize leisure over work or instant gratification over compound interests. Priority comes in many different ways and you can hear a million ways to organize it.
The Righteous Way includes organizing not just our energy and effort but aligning it to give our life true meaning and direction. We are made for great things but not because we will it or we take cues from what the world offers us – but because of what our Creator wills for us.
When we align our will with the Father’s, life gains a clarity you can’t get anywhere else. To live a righteous life means to get our priorities straight.
First, it lies with making our relationship to the Triune God of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit paramount. Without being connected to this reality and knowing and trusting where He will take us, our work and direction can become lost. By being connected, “we can do all things in Christ who empowers us,” Philippians 4:13.
Second, and I’m having a debate on placement between two and three, is ourselves, The Ore. Not to be inward-looking and selfish but to recognize that we can’t give what we don’t have. It’s important to allow ourselves to be instruments that need to be sharpened for the love and work ahead. We need to be formed and purposed so we can figure out what is being asked of us in any given season of life. Love, discipline, and skill can wane or grow over our life by the choices we make. How are we going to let our Ore be formed along the way?
Third, The Vocation. Not to be confused with little “v” vocation as the job or career we take but big “V” vocation for what our true calling is. We’re all born single, most will be called to another state of life. A refined call of the heart, a great mission and task that requires more than the work you put down after you clock out. It’s your identity. Most are called into marriage – to love their spouse and if God willing, raise babies. Others are specialized with a unique draw – priesthood, religious life, and the refined singlehood of consecrated virginity. All of these require love, joy, commitment, service, death to self, community, perseverance, and grit.
Fourth, The Labor is the work we do – our careers that fund our life and giving. Some people are unbelievably blessed with talents and clear direction for their labor. Others have to walk a hard road to find it. Some make great money but feel desolate on the inside. Others have hearts overflowing from their labor but struggle to put food on the table. This part of our life takes up most of our clock as we trade time for money, usually 40-60 hours a week. Because of this often times, this becomes our life. Our priority. We put everything that is above on this list, below this priority. It’s easy too. I’ve done it myself. Our work is important, especially if you’re a provider but if it’s out of internal priority it will wreck your life. When it’s guided correctly, it can do immense good.
Lastly, The Leisure in your life has a unique stature – as Aristotle said, “The end of labor is leisure.” We want to enjoy life, we’re not just donkeys at a grindstone destined to slave our way to retirement, then and only then, will we truly enjoy. No, that isn’t it. Life is an adventure and it’s important to break, rest, and explore. This isn’t last on the list because it shouldn’t exist for us but because after the above, our leisure can recharge us for the above. The tale of caution should be told, a life of leisure as a top priority can lead to a life out of sorts. It can steal and rob us of fruits only the others can provide and the tricky part is, it feels great while doing it. Balance and temperance are key.
This is the way;) The next few Climbs will explore each of the five in more depth. I’d love to hear your thoughts, how would you place these?
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