The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
1 Timothy 1:5
Do you know that feeling, on your first free Saturday in a while? There’s so much to do, so much you want to do, so much you’re excited to do. If you’re anything like me, you come out of the gates hard, checking some low-hanging fruit off of the to-do list. Then, perhaps you throw in something fun, because it is Saturday, after all. Lunch rolls around, take some extra time for that; in fact, you have time for a TV lunch; in fact, make it a 40-minute show–it’s Saturday! Before long, it’s the afternoon. Then you’re saying “it’s 4:30 already?” Dinner time sneaks up on you (you’d almost rather skip dinner, or at least delay it, because this Saturday hasn’t really been as fun or as productive as you were hoping). Finally, you crash into the end of the day, more stressed than you expected, disappointed.
At least, when I’m not careful, that’s how my Saturdays go, but that’s not how I want my life to go.
Perhaps many things are competing for your time right now. Maybe your life has filled up over the years, like the third bay in the garage. Maybe you’re in a new place, a new season, like I was when we moved to Massachusetts three years ago, and endless possibilities are vying for space on the calendar. There are only so many hours in a day, days in a week. So: Will we call this person or that person? Go here or there? What will we join? Where will we commit? What will come first?
Three years ago, I came across this verse from 1 Timothy, and it helped me focus. It reminded me what I must prioritize, clarified for me what I want to prioritize: What God wants for me and from me, in my ministry, in our home, in this season, in this life. “The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”
If we can’t accomplish everything we thought we could in this life (and, if you think like me, we can’t), these are good priorities, God’s priorities for us: To foster a pure heart, maintain a good conscience, and grow sincere faith, all that we might love. This is a good beginning, because this is our end, our “aim.” If this is all we ever do, we’ve spent our time well. Actually, this is more than we could ever do (ever finish, that is), but we can trust priorities handed down from the God whom we will meet at the end of this life, who has secured for us life everlasting.
These are good priorities. Consider them and memorize them. Recite them on your way to work and your way to home. Teach them to your children. Embody them in your life. Recall them in moments of indecision, stress, disappointment, and fear. “This is the aim of our charge: Love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.”