Besides "Social Security" -- Matter of "Life's Priority"

( [email protected] ) May 23, 2005 05:01 AM EDT


Recently President Bush attempted to shift the country’s agenda of priorities from “home land security” against terrorist to “social security” for old age. It has brought much debate and controversy among politicians and voters in around the country. Why is it so difficult to set such priorities or change them?

Most people plan out their daily activities in the morning without thinking too much about their priorities – let alone their “lifelong priorities.” Occasionally, we think of them maybe when considering New Year’s resolutions. But notice how once a disaster hits, many people find themselves rushing to find answers to their life priorities.


Recently, several of my close relatives faced life crises due to illness and accident. I observed how unprepared they were at the time of near-death experience scrambling and searching for answers to life’s hard questions:

• What am I doing it here?

• Where I am going?

• What is most important to me, given the fact that I now very limited time to live, resources to use and few options left?

These are questions that demand thoughtful thinking and soul-searching introspection. Let’s take a moment to reflect on these questions, and not to wait until disaster hits and crisis arrives.


Recently, an interesting phenomenon swept across the country: the sale of 20 million copies of Rick Warren’s bestseller - The Purpose-Driven Life. It is our prayer and hope that those who have purchased the book will read and practice the biblical priority of life as presented in that book.

The sales of the book provoked a survey by The Barna Group which was entitled, “What Is A Purpose-Driven Life to Americans?” For this report, the researched polled a random national sample of 1003 adults asking them this question: “What do you perceive to be your purpose in life to be?”

The research found that 44% stated that their top priority in life is “having a satisfying family life….The second-most common life priority, listed by 18% of all adults, was that of understanding and carrying out the principles of their faith.”

(For more results from that report click at the link below:

It is a good sign that “having a satisfying family life” ranks high as the top priority; not wealth nor pleasure. In light of the high rate of divorce, increasing cases of dysfunctional families, this is encouraging.

In a capitalistic society like America, oftentimes an individual’s worth is measured by his possessions and ability to accumulate wealth. The study shows that among Americans the second-most common life priority “understanding and carrying out the principles of their faith.” Christians should be alarmed not only because “faith” is ranked second but at a looming distance – 18% compared to the first place ranking of 44% for “satisfying family life.”

When faith loses its influential power on the outlook of life, style of living and value system, it can deteriorate to just “feeble faith” or a fuzzy warm feeling.

Perhaps one reason for this is a false sense of security people have. In the absence of immediate crises, and with medical and life insurance, people may not find the need to think over their priorities. But although Medical insurance can ensure the insurer provision of medical care; it will not prevent illness. Life insurance can ensure the financial provision for loved ones should the insurer died; but it will not “add a single inch to his life’s span” (Luke 12:25). In his conversation with seeker regarding family inheritance, Jesus responded by saying, “…a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions” (Luke 12: 15). Let’s not wait until a crisis to sort out what in the end truly matters to us.