Charles Perrault’s tale, “The Three Wishes,” begins with a woodcutter who is preparing to chop down a tree. However, the tree is home to an elf, who promises three wishes to the woodcutter, if the man will spare the tree. The woodcutter waits until dinnertime with his wife to reveal the good news regarding the elf’s three wishes. Without thinking, the woodcutter’s wife took a sip of her wine and said, “I wish I had a string of sausages to go with it.”
Instantly, the sausages appeared; however, the woodcutter was not pleased. With anger, he shouted, “What a stupid waste of a wish! You foolish woman! I wish they would stick up your nose!” Immediately, the sausages leapt to the woman’s nose and remained stuck there. The couple sat sadly upon the floor, and realized there was only one thing to do, which was to restore the woman’s nose with the last wish. The woodcutter said, “I wish the sausages would leave my wife’s nose.” The husband and wife hugged each other tearfully, and remarked, “Maybe we will be poor, but we will be happy again.” The sausages were fried for dinner; nevertheless, the couple thought as to how they wasted their wishes.
Important vs. Urgent
Perrault’s tale reminds us how easy it is to waste our lives with the insignificant; that is, to live our days without any purpose. The “tyranny of the urgent” is always looming (as Charles Hummel wrote in 1967); thus we can be busy, yet not truly make any significant progress. According to Hummel, the problem is not a shortage of time; rather, it is a lack of priorities. The greatest tragedy in life is allowing the urgent to hinder the important.
The gospel accounts of Jesus reveal that the Lord was never in a hurry, even when his friend Lazarus was dying. Mark 1:35 indicates the priority that the Lord Jesus had for prayer. The reason for this prayerful waiting was to await His Father’s instructions; of course, Christians today receive such instruction solely from God’s Word. Consequently, the foundational precedence for the believer is to prioritize Bible study and prayer.
The seed in the good soil, these are the ones who have heard the word in an honest and good heart, and hold it fast, and bear fruit with perseverance.
- Luke 8:15
Priority: Cultivate the Good Soil
Cultivating the good soil discussed in Luke 8 should be our priority. Read the entire article for encouragement to live with an eternal perspective, having biblical priorities.
Click on the image below to read the complete May 2014 article in the Midnight Call magazine