Upside-Down Priorities


"Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?" (Matt 6:25 NIV)

It's interesting how we zoom through life, our heads filled with one "emergency" after another:

"I better not forget to deposit that cheque in the bank."

"I must remember to call Mr. Jones. He's a potential client."

"Oh dear! I'm forgetting to order sympathy flowers for my colleague who lost his wife "

We face so many of these "emergencies" on any given day. We attempt to become professional jugglers as we try to "manage" all of these "priorities". At the end of the day, do we even remember most of these things that were so "critical"? Is it any wonder stress is on the rise?

How come it isn't until a REAL emergency strikes that we begin to realize what REALLY matters in life!

March 11, 2011 changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in Japan. Being hit by the most catastrophic earthquake in Japan's history, measuring 8.9 on the Richter Scale, followed by a massive 10 meter tsunami and then radiation leakage from damaged nuclear reactors, many of these poor Japanese people have been forced to come to terms with what really matters in this world.

One of the stories that touched my heart involved an eight-month pregnant woman. She was stuck in Tokyo, 25 kilometers from home. She was desperate to get back home for two reasons:

1. She wanted to make sure her husband was still alive

2. She didn't want her husband to worry about her.

She had forgotten her cell phone at home that day. Not that it would have helped much, for the phone lines were perpetually busy. Payphones were out of the question as well, as long lines of people were waiting to make their desperate calls. Likewise busses and taxis were not an option, as there were also long lines waiting for these, and even if she could have boarded a bus, traffic was at a standstill.

So she did the impossible, she walked the 25 Km to her home. She made sure to hydrate herself regularly. At least there were no lines in front of vending machines! Restrooms were also available by stopping in one of the numerous office buildings in Tokyo.

It took her seven hours to reach her goal, and when she arrived, her husband wasn't even home. He, too, had been far from home when disaster struck, 32 Km to be exact. Not knowing what had become of his wife, he borrowed a bicycle and cycled home, arriving thirty minutes after she did. What a happy reunion that was!

Funny that they weren't worried about their possessions or the money in their bank accounts. Their to-do lists were completely forgotten, for the only thing that mattered was finding each other.

In 1989, San Francisco was hit by a 6.9 earthquake. We had friends in that region, and we, too, discovered that the only thing that mattered to us was finding our friends. Unfortunately, they didn't make it.

What will be our priority when we reach heaven? Will we think about the to-do lists we left behind? Or will we wonder why our loved ones aren't there?

What are we going to do about this?

It's really a question of priority.

P. S. Please continue to pray for the people of Japan. Survivors are still being found, and the situation at one of the nuclear power plants remains critical.

Rob Chaffart

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