I was recently reading an interview of Billy Graham that he gave on his 80th birthday, which made me think about priorities as I start this the New Year. During the interview, Billy the greatest evangelists of all times, was asked: “It must be rewarding to you to look back on your life and not have to live with regrets?”
Billy’s answer was unexpected for me. He said: “There is one regret. I wish I would have spent more time with Jesus. I was more time with men and conducting services and doing ministry. I should have been more with God and people would’ve sensed God’s presence when they were with me.”
As you know Billy Graham is probably one of the most influential personalities in the modern history of the church. He has led billions to Christ, churches have started as a result of his preaching and teaching, amazing partnerships have been created and yet at the end decades of this wonderful life of service he has one regret. As he said: “I wish I would have spent more time with Jesus. “
That is a challenge for me and I believe for all of us that are in the full time ministry. The ministry is always and more demanding, but I do not want to be 80 and then regret my time with Jesus. I feel like I constantly need to adjust my priorities so Jesus becomes the center. And having Jesus in the center will radically change my ministry and the way I serve people around me.
“As the father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in His love” John 15: 9-10
Besides applications on a personal level, while talking with my wife, we thought of a few practical steps we could recalibrate in our life as a family and guard them throughout this year.
- We will free up the Shabbat – Did you know this is one of the 10 commandments?
When I was in Israel I was amazed to see this commandment being applied so rigorously. One of the Israelis said that keeping the Shabbat and making it a habit has helped them and kept them away from being over burned, depressed or simply deal with stress. An important step will be to shut down all electronics so that we will not be distracted.
- We will make memorizing the scripture a priority as a family.
“I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” – Psalm 119:11
We want our kids to make it a habit to hide God’s word in their heart, especially now that they are entering the teenage years. We hope that as they do so when they grow up they will unpack the treasure in their heart that will guide them to live well.
These are some of the thoughts and action steps I believe that God has put on my heart as this new year has just started. What about you? What are some of the things that God has put in your heart during this season? What is one or two action of steps that you are planning to take in order to grow in your intimacy with Jesus?