Have you ever regretted something you did, or something you didn’t do but should have done? Often our regrets come from not giving priority to God. When we fail to put God first in our lives, we will inevitably come to a point where we realize and regret that we have neglected the very thing that is most important. Neglecting the importance of God in our lives can often lead to neglecting everything else that is of importance, such as the relationships with people in our lives and the needs of people whom God puts in our paths. When we place our priorities on things like the pursuit of riches and material things rather than on what is important, that, in turn, will inevitably lead to more regrets.
In the novella A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, the ghost of Jacob Marley speaks of such regrets. On Christmas Eve, Marley’s ghost appears to his former partner, Ebenezer Scrooge. In their business partnership, both Marley and Scrooge turned their eyes to the pursuit of riches. With their eyes focused on riches, they turned away from the relationships with people in their lives and turned a blind eye to the needs of the poor and destitute around them. In Dickens’ tale, the now-deceased Marley has learned too late that their priorities were in the wrong place. He tells Scrooge that he has realized that money was not his true business but rather mankind, the welfare of the poor and destitute, was his business. He has come to warn Scrooge to change before it is too late and, at one point says, “…no space of regret can make amends for one life’s opportunity misused.”
When we place our priorities on the wrong things, such as riches, we will one day find ourselves filled with regrets. In 1 Timothy 6:9-10, Paul says, “But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” To avoid such griefs, and to avoid regrets, we must place our priorities on God. We must put God first. When we do, we will also place the proper priority on those people whom God has placed in our lives and on the needs of those around us.
Paul later says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment. Tell them to use their money to do good. They should be rich in good works and generous to those in need, always being ready to share with others. By doing this they will be storing up their treasure as a good foundation for the future so that they may experience true life.” When we have the right priorities, we will avoid regret and will experience true life, the life that God wants us to experience.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.