Just finishing up the busiest season of the year where I was just working, being married, having a 4 month old son, full-time ministry (CCF), and a bit of a social life, I've had to seriously focus on my priorities lately. All these things I truly believe God has put in my life and have been entrusted to me, and I consider each of them a great blessing. I'd imagine most of you probably have similar thoughts... How do you balance work, devotions, family, ministry, and everything else in as busy a life as most cooks and chefs have? None of these items can generally be dropped from our lives; therefore every single one of them is a priority God has for our lives.
If we don't work, we can't provide for our family (1 Timothy 8:5) or minister in the environment God has called us to (Yes, working in the kitchen, even a secular kitchen IS a full-time ministry in itself).
God has called us to love our spouses (Ephesians 5:22-33), so if we work too much, plus take care all our other responsibilities, we couldn't adequately love them. Therefore that must also be a priority for us.
We are called to train up our children in the Way (Proverbs 22:6) and bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), so if we're too busy with life for our family, it's difficult to spend that time to bring our children up in the Lord. What kind of example to them is that?
Then if we don't have devotions as another priority in our lives we start losing focus on God, putting that focus on ourselves instead. We can never lose our salvation, but we can lose direction, which is a sad thought for all who truly love God and wish for His will to be done on earth.
Many of us have also been called into another ministry, just like God has done for me with the different ministries He currently has in place within CCF, as well as a vision for a future Christian culinary school and more. With that as a calling in my life (and many other similar callings in others' lives too), it would be sin to forsake the calling. Plus, as it's something heavy on my heart, I'd never want to forsake it anyway. Therefore, that too is once again another priority.
So for many of us it may seem impossible to keep ALL those as our priorities in life, right? I know I sometimes find it very hard to give the due time and effort each requires. Some speak about priorities and only mention God. I'm actually doing the same, but taking it a step further in all that God has called us to. With all that in mind, we must know how much of a priority each item is and should be in our lives, and pray for assistance - "Lord, help me to best manage all that You've entrusted to me however You so desire me to do it."
Matt 22:36-40 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?" Jesus said to him, "'You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.' This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'" -Matt 22:36-40 (NKJV)
These few verses are what Jesus Himself has told us are to be the most important things of our lives. The first is our walk with the Lord and the second is people. Although it's not a law to keep your devotions, I recommend it to help you keep your focus first on God, looking at everything else in life through what God teaches you through His Word and your walk with Him. Secondly is people - primarily your ministry of and to your family, and also to anyone else God puts in your path.
As I mentioned above, work is very important too, but don't let it get in the way of your walk with God and your family. If you work 70 hours/week every week, you may want to consider a new job. What's more important - your marriage or your job? I understand that occasionally it is necessary to work that many (or even more) hours in a week, but if that occurs every week, I would suggest that work has become a bit too high of a priority in your life, shutting out many of the other priorities God has for you. Which would you prefer - work more hours for more pay to support a wife who will divorce you and a child who won't grow up with any spiritual and much moral direction from you OR get a bit less pay and have a wonderful relationship with your spouse and children without so many toys that money can buy?
Those are by far the most important three topics that each of us needs to balance, of course working a little sleep into that too if time permits. Then once those priorities are straight, carefully work the rest out to see how much more time you have for a social life and to help out at your church or any other ministry God may call you to.
I do pray for you all and pray that God would speak to you and open your hearts to any change and encouragement He has in mind for you. Sometimes in my own life I've thought God wasn't speaking to me, then I came to realize that it was me not listening to Him, as He always is, was, and will be here for us.