Melvyn Tan
December 20, 2013 — By tanmelvyn@gmail.com

Put God First Place

[blockquote source=”Haggai 1:5-6 (NIV)“]Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”[/blockquote] Pretty Caught Up […]

[blockquote source=”Haggai 1:5-6 (NIV)“]Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways.  You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”[/blockquote]

Pretty Caught Up
I was pretty caught up this week with the preparation of the revised and re-branded Engaged Mastery program. Many of the exercises that are used in the program have to be redesigned. In fact, we went back to the beginning by asking ourselves, what’s the Engaged Mastery program offering? What is its value add? How can it enhance people’s lives? In other words, how can it engage the participants?

Three Reasons Why
We narrowed it down to three. First, in today’s fast moving, ever-changing, dynamic, and demanding environment how can the Engaged Mastery program get people to sit up and take action on what’s really important to them? The answer, we believe lies in death. Thinking about death has always brought about clarity on what’s truly important but not necessarily urgent.

Second, we ourselves know that an exercise like this (thinking about death) works, but maybe only for the moment. Especially for folks who think they are still young and reckon they have a longer runway than others; they tend to lose sight on what’s important as their daily demands catch up with them or when they lose themselves in the hustle and bustle of daily demands. In other words, the environment imposes upon them a series of urgent matters that they lose sight of what’s important. And since it’s so easy to revert to old habits or be conformed by their surroundings, there needs to be a way (or a system) to ensure that they stay on track. And perhaps it’s more than a system.

Third, let’s say if they truly focused on what’s important and they stay on track with intense discipline. Now, what if they do not see or experience the outcomes that they desire? And then what happened? Because like all human beings, we are emotional beings. We need to feel a sense of accomplishment. We want to experience the pleasure and to move away from pain. That’s just being human. Hence it is really important that we must see, or at least experience, a sense of accomplishment otherwise, as we labor on focusing on what’s important and really disciplined ourselves to do it; we will eventually lose steam and worse, hope.

Fell Short
That’s what happened over the course of the last few days. I know what’s important: the daily readings of the Bible, writing of how we can apply, and praying to God. I know that’s important. That’s going to be my life’s work. And I have scheduled time to do the work. But because I haven’t seen any progress or experience any fruits of the success, I eventually caved in to the demands of my circumstances. I fell short.

Put God First Place
And today’s verse is a clear reminder of what’s happening. Because I have not placed God first place.

Prayer 
LORD, I ask for Your forgiveness. I’ve taken my mind off Your house to take care of mine. LORD, I ask that You help me make sense of my progress as I labor on what’s truly important. In Jesus name, Amen.