So many of the things that turn our lives upside down in a very damaging way are not really “wrong” things. The thing that turned Martha’s day in Luke 10 into a nightmare that’s still being rehearsed was not a “wrong” thing. Fixing dinner was a good thing to do… important, even. Just not as important as listening to the Lord. The object of attachment that made the rich young ruler (who, by the way, was a knowledgable, law-keeping Jew) in Mark 10 walk away with sorrow was not an “evil” object. It was simply that what he loved most was not what he should have loved most. There was nothing inherently bad about the bowl of porridge that Esau obtained in exchange for his birthright in Genesis 25. It was, once again, simply a case of misplaced priorities.
And so it is with me and so many of my friends today. When I love sewing for the sweet baby in my life more than I love sewing for a needy family, I have misplaced priorities. If I love stashing casseroles in my freezer so I will have easier days for self while never thinking of sharing with other moms who have sick children or with families who are grieving, then my “good” thing becomes evil. If I am being a “good influence” on my fellow civic club members or bowling league while meeting with them on Wednesday nights during the regular Bible study hour of my congregation, I have let a good thing take the place of the best thing.
One important application of the obvious relevant passage—“Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and all these things will be added to you ” (Matthew 6:33)— is this: Mark it down….If I love my child more than I love my spouse, I am putting a good thing—even a great thing, one notch too high on my list of priorities. Sometimes I see this happening around me. A mother chooses to distance herself from her husband because she is simply absorbed in the activities of the children. A daddy spends all of his time playing ball with his sons to the neglect of the emotional needs of his wife. A mother chooses to sleep with her children rather than with their dad. A daddy of teens chooses to absorb himself in his work (camping, fishing and hiking) with the teenage boys of the church, leaving his wife alone on many or most weekends. A young mother defies the rigid but reasonable discipline regime that her husband has set in place in their home because she “feels it is a bit too regimented.” A mom spends hours and hours in Facebook groups about motherhood or in hobbies that revolve around the kids while Dad is left to pretty much fend for himself. A dad puts an exorbitant amount of money into sports gear for his children while his wife has trouble having enough grocery money each month. The list is inexhaustible.
But you get the point. We can be “good” and still reserve a place in our lives for selfish defiance. This is true even when our defiance is borne of what we may believe is love for our kids. But the important truth to remember is this. If I love my child more than I love my husband, I will ultimately hurt my child. Every. Single. Time. Ask Rebekah how that worked out when she sought the “best interests” of Jacob at the expense of Isaac in Genesis 27. When your children are grown, you can’t go back and have a re-do. So, if you can find it in your heart to believe this old grandmother now, you can save your children a lot of heartache. Just love their father to the max. Put him right there between God and your children in the pecking order. When you love him, you love those beautiful children he gave you. And all will be better in your world!