Summer 2024

Daily Devotional: Friday, January 19 - Know Your Priorities

“Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.” — Psalm 90:12

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One of the most surprising stories in tennis toward the end of the 2023 season was the success of 22-year-old Italian Jannik Sinner. This young player has certainly been making a solid case for himself as a serious contender on the ATP Tour over the last couple of years, but his run in the latter half of last season proved that the current world No. 4 is definitely here to take the sport to new heights for his country and the world.

However, some recent comments he made in an interview caused some to see him in a totally new way. In a time when many competitors make incredible sacrifices in order to chase things like ranking, prize money, opportunities, etc., Sinner revealed he’s chosen to take a slightly different path.

“For tennis, I left home at 13,” he said. “It gives me positive and negative emotions, joys and sorrows. It gives me everything. My concern is not profit; it is never money. If it were, I would always play; I wouldn’t take breaks. On the contrary, I’m interested in eating well, sleeping the right hours, eating at home whenever I can, and being ready on the court the next morning. … My goal isn’t to make money. It’s to become the best version of me possible … and to do that, I have to say ‘no’ to something, otherwise the season becomes interminable.”

We live in a time when most people are willing to give up anything — even things like faith, family and friendship — in order to chase success. Yet, when we look in the Bible, we notice God has a lot to say about priorities: seeking God first (Matthew 6:33, Deuteronomy 6:5, Exodus 20:3); taking care of yourself and your own household well (1 Timothy 3:5); having your heart in the right place (Luke 12:34, Matthew 6:19); not trying to serve two masters (Matthew 6:24); pursuing things like righteousness, kindness, love and peace (Proverbs 21:21, Micah 6:8, 2 Timothy 2:22); focusing on eternal things (Colossians 3:2, Matthew 5:6); thinking of others (Philippians 2:4, 1 John 3:16); glorifying God in whatever you do (1 Corinthians 6:20, Colossians 3:17); and so much more!

The world and the enemy will do everything possible to pull you away from these things. They will call for your attention and try to convince you that giving up your priorities in favor of the next win, the next deal, a bigger salary, a better lifestyle is worth it. But as the Lord Jesus pointedly asked in Mark 8:36, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?” After all, the enemy tried to tempt Christ in the wilderness with this very tactic: Bow down to me and I’ll give you ALL of this (Matthew 4:8-9).

In whatever you are pursuing, it’s worth identifying the things you will never compromise, so you will always be able to keep your perspective when other things tempt you. Remember what you’re willing to say “no” to so you can always say “yes” to the best things — the things that are important to God.

Katherine Singer

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