Have you ever played that arcade game Whack-a-mole? The idea is to take a big padded hammer on a cord and wait for the moles to pop up. When they do, you frantically whack those moles down just as hard and fast as you can. Of course, the more moles you whack, the higher your score. What is it about this silly game that draws everyone in? This is a mystery to me. I suppose it is because it’s a brainless stress-reliever that keeps you guessing. You never know which mole will pop up next! And, can you hit them all?!
This game popped into my head a few years ago when my husband and I were going through an especially busy season of life. We were both stretched thin with the demands of our family, church commitments, sports, friends, and so on.
Finally, one date night, as I was lamenting about how busy our lives had become, it dawned on me, “Honey, our life is like whack-a-mole!” “What?” “You know, that game with the moles…and the hammer? I feel like that is us! You’ve got the hammer and I am just one of many moles in your life!” He shook his head and asserted that I was not one of many moles. I finally conceded, “Ok, so maybe I am a bonus mole (extra points)…but I am still just one of many moles!”
Sometimes, these word pictures hit a little too close to home for my wonderful husband, who really does live by good priorities. But, that evening was a turning point for us. It started us down a very helpful and tender season of defining – and learning to live by – what we defined as truly sacred in life.
To establish what we would define as sacred, we had to answer a few questions:
What are the things that we hold most precious as a couple?
What are the priorities we want to be defined by as a family?
What are the things that we would lay down our lives for?
What is absolutely sacred to our family?
After some soul searching and taking time to make our own lists and then talk it through, here is what rose to the surface.
Our devotion to God. (Deut. 6:5)
Our devotion to our marriage. (Eph. 5:22-31, Hebrews 13:4)
Our devotion to our children; to pour into them lots of love, a healthy measure of discipline, and to faithfully teach them about Christ. (Deut 6:4-7)
Our commitment to have a home dedicated to serving and loving God. (Joshua 24:15)
And finally, from that strong home base, our commitment to extend the message of God’s love and forgiveness to others. (2 Corin. 12:15)
And, I must tell you, that is it! This short list of priorities are the things we hold most precious, the things that we want to be known for, and the things for which we would lay down our lives.
Jesus also spoke of priorities…and his advice is beautifully simple. “But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33 This is a gracious invitation from our heavenly Father to a restless people. He is telling us that if we simply put Him first, setting our hearts and minds on pleasing Him, He will take care of the rest! As you steady your gaze on Him, you will be amazed at how easily everything else falls into its proper place.
Once we defined our sacred priorities, we discovered just how often they would be challenged. Every day of every week, worthy duties call and precious friends ask. Often times we say yes. But we have come to the place where we know that the stakes are high, and that frees us up to sometimes say no. We know that one day we will stand before our Maker, giving an account for how we have spent our days. (Matt 25:14-28, Rom 14:12, Heb 4:13) Will we be able to say we lived purposefully for the few things we hold most dear – for the things He holds most dear?
Unless we define – and resolutely cling to – what is most sacred to us, those precious relationships and priorities can be swept away in the busyness of our mole-whacking ways.
I encourage you, friend, to stop and gain perspective about your priorities. As you do, I can assure you that you will be blessed. You will discover that life becomes a lot more simple – and sweet – once you can define for yourselves that one vital matter: What is sacred?
But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you. – Matthew 6:33
Questions to ponder:
• What are some of the moles in my life, things that keep me from prioritizing that which is most precious to me? What is something that I give my time to that isn’t going to matter in five years? Should I consider leaving it behind?
• Sit down this week and talk with your husband about defining what is most sacred to you and your family.