Above All Else
Twenty-five years ago, management guru Stephen Covey published an extremely influential book, First Things First. One section of the book he called “The Main Thing Is to Keep the Main Thing the Main Thing.” That is powerful advice in a world that constantly calls us in all directions.
Solomon tells us what the main thing is. Among his instructions to his son, we find this: “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” We could paraphrase Solomon’s words like this: The main thing is to guard your heart. There is nothing more important than this. This is worthy of the place “above all else.” You will be called in many directions, he says, but guard your heart.
Solomon majors on wisdom, but the wisdom he promotes is of a particular kind. It is wisdom for righteous living. As he writes in Proverbs 1:3, it is “for receiving instruction in prudent behavior, doing what is right and just and fair.” And again in Proverbs 2:9, “Then you will understand what is right and just and fair—every good path.” This is why we must guard our hearts—to keep them on the right path.
What occupies your heart? What are your dreams? What do you value? Those things are what fill the thoughts of your heart, and Jesus says, “Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). If you treasure good things, that is what will flow from your mouth—words of praise and encouragement and joy and peace. On the other hand, if you treasure bad things, that is what will flow. You will speak words of criticism and doubt and fear and confusion.
Solomon himself failed to guard his heart and ended up a failure (1 Kings 11:1-13). Are you keeping the main thing the main thing? Are you guarding your heart?
Prayer: Lord, when I am rushed and harried in the midst of life, let me keep the main thing the main thing. Please give me the heart commitment I need. When I face temptation, let me be prepared. In the quiet of the morning or the evening, let me set up the defenses by meditating on your Word and hiding it in my heart. When I hear the preacher or the teacher, let me hide that word in my heart. Give me, Lord, a godly perspective to see what is ‘above all else.’