Today’s reading is drawn from Philippians 3:12-14.
Paul accomplished an amazing amount in the approximately 20 years he functioned as a leader. The churches he planted and the letters he wrote have helped shape Western culture. Part of Paul’s ability to accomplish so much is defined in Philippians 3:13: “But one thing I do …”
The book of Acts and Paul’s epistles reveal that he lived a real life in real circumstances with real options to choose from. He, like everyone else, had to decide what to do and what not to do. He obviously made wise choices. He pursued matters that mattered. When options conflicted, he had the ability to choose well. But priorities have to begin with a “But one thing I do.” Without a defining, central Priority, there can be no sensible priorities in leading or in life.
Life is too complex to live it by lists of priorities. Paul knew what one thing gave definition to his life, and all his priorities grew out of that central focus. Priorities help us say yes and no to things that matter and don’t matter. Far more, having a consuming priority redefines how we say yes and how we live to make that yes a reality.