Holy Week is the perfect time to check our priorities. What REALLY matters in my life? This week we remember that NOTHING is more important than the suffering, death and resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Baptized into Jesus, we share in His victory over death and hell. Growing in our relationship with Him by receiving His gifts is our top priority. To be loved by Jesus…sacrificially, unconditionally and incarnationally…changes everything else in life.
This is why I regularly say, “Thumbs up to Jesus!” It’s a way for me to remember to keep Jesus as my top priority. Then, His love flows into me and fills me. I remember this as I picture myself as the palm of my hand. When I have my thumb up to Jesus, His love flows down into me, the palm. And, when this relationship is in order, then I can share His love with all the people in my life, represented by the four fingers on my hand.
After my relationship with Jesus, if I’m married, my next most important relationship is that with my spouse. My spouse is represented by my forefinger…my #1 human relationship. Following the marriage mandate of Gen. 2:24, I’ve “left father and mother” to hold fast to my spouse in committed, incarnate love. With Jesus as my guide, strength and source of forgiveness, I pass on to my beloved bride the love I’ve received from the Bridegroom, Jesus. If I’m not married to another person, then my marriage to Jesus takes precedent and shapes the way I love the other people in my life.
Speaking of those others, when I have a right relationship with my spouse, we can then work effectively together to love the next most important people in my life, those I’m related to by blood or marriage. Represented by my middle finger, my children, parents, siblings, in-laws and all my other relatives are of great importance to me. Still, they come after my spouse. If I don’t have a strong relationship with my spouse, I won’t be able to give my best to my family. I bless them most when I’m showing them the love of Jesus by the way I love my spouse. Parents, children and other family get the best love from me when Jesus is on top, my spouse is next and they follow right after.
As I keep those first three priorities in order, I also overflow with love for my fellow believers in Jesus throughout the world. My church family, represented by my ring finger, will be touched with Jesus’ love through me as they see me receiving from Jesus and passing on His love to my spouse and family. The church family can then be modeled after healthy biological families. All relationships in the church are to be shaped by the sacrificial, unconditional and incarnate love taught by Jesus and practiced in the home. A congregation with such healthy relationships will be a living witness to the world of how families ought to function.
That takes me to my final relational priority in life…my relationships with everyone else who doesn’t fit one of the above priorities. Represented by my pinky finger, these people may be my lowest priority by comparison, but that does NOT make them unimportant. I’ve been called to love my neighbor as myself…and all of these “pinky” people are my neighbors. If I want to love them as much as possible, then I keep all of my above relationships in their right place. With right priorities, Jesus’ love WILL flow into me and into my spouse, family and church so that the other people I encounter won’t be able to miss my living witness of love. They’ll be wrapped up in the peace, contentment, purpose and joy that emanate from all my other relationships.
As we observe Holy Week, we take time to reflect on what really matters. Jesus on top! Spouse, other family members and church family after that. Then, we’ll fulfill our high calling to bear witness to the world of the one way of salvation through our risen and victorious Savior, Jesus. The Spirit will work through us to fill our entire life with Jesus’ infectious love. By God’s power, many more will join us in that awesome love for eternity.
Blessings on your rightly prioritized Holy Week!