Romans 1:13; 15:20-24 I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles….15:20 and thus I make it my ambition to preach the gospel, not where Christ has already been named, lest I build on someone else's foundation, 21 but as it is written, "Those who have never been told of him will see, and those who have never heard will understand." 22 This is the reason why I have so often been hindered from coming to you. 23 But now, since I no longer have any room for work in these regions, and since I have longed for many years to come to you, 24 I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain, and to be helped on my journey there by you, once I have enjoyed your company for a while.
The power of godly priorities based on the word of God and our specific assignments from God is revealed in the above scriptures. Notice in Romans 1:13 that Paul often intended to visit the Roman local church but was prevented. Romans 15:20-24 explains why Paul was prevented from going to visit the saints in Rome for many years. Paul’s ambition to preach the gospel among unreached people groups was a God-given priority gained from the Word of God. As Paul daily read the scriptures, the Holy Spirit highlighted Isaiah 52:15 to him. Paul knew from that scripture that Jesus was calling him to preach the gospel where Christ had never been named. This priority kept him from visiting the Roman local church until he could visit while on his way to another unreached people in Spain. The saints in Rome and Paul had a common purpose but different assignments to reach that purpose. Paul was to go to the unreached people with the financial help of the Roman saints. Both used their gifts from God to accomplish His purpose of seeking and saving the lost. Paul was to go to the uttermost parts of the world and the Roman saints were to remain in Rome and make it possible for Paul to go.
The best decision making tool we have is God’s priorities. In our world today, we have many people wanting our time. We have many personal desires that demand more time than we have to give. How do we determine what we are to do when faced with far more opportunities than time to do them? We need to decide according to the priorities and assignments God has given us through His written word. The number one priority God has given each of us is spelled out in Matthew 6:33, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” We seek the kingdom (def. “sovereign rule of a King”) of God and His righteousness by reading and meditating on the Word of God, the Bible. As we interact with the Lord in the word and prayer, He spells out the priorities we are to have in our life. As we stick to His priorities, we will know what desires and opportunities to pursue. A short list of God-given priorities: Daily time with God in the word and prayer, family responsibilities, work (for a mother this primarily in the home until children are raised), fellowship with believers, time with nonbelievers to help them know Christ, and rest. These priorities are prominent in the Bible.
Are you keeping Godly priorities and using them to determine how to spend the time God has given you? Do you let godly priorities prevent you from filling good opportunities in order to fulfill the best opportunities? Paul calls us to imitate him as he imitated Christ. Jesus always ordered His life to fulfill His God-given priorities no matter how uncomfortable they may have been (see Mark 1:35-38; Luke 9:21-22, 51). Will you?