14 When the king of Ai saw the Israelites across the valley, he and all his army hurried out early in the morning and attacked the Israelites at a place overlooking the Jordan Valley.But he didn’t realize there was an ambush behind the town. 15 Joshua and the Israelite army fled toward the wilderness as though they were badly beaten. 16 Then all the men in the town were called out to chase after them. In this way, they were lured away from the town. 17 There was not a man left in Ai or Bethel who did not chase after the Israelites, and the town was left wide open. – Joshua 8
The King of Ai was about to get wiped out. His entire city and all it’s people would die. By the end of the day the King would be executed. Why? Among other things he was lured away from the town and left it unprotected. He was lead away from the very thing that he was in charge of protecting. Both the King and the land he was to protect would be destroyed.
There are things that I have to protect:
Pretty much in that order. I can’t walk away and leave them unprotected. I have to say no to other things in order to not leave them wide open. I should make no excuses for protecting my time in these areas. Otherwise I am walking away from them and leaving them wide open.
What is your list? What are the things that you are supposed to protect? What are you leaving wide open?
Don’t feel bad about protecting what you need to protect. Saying "no" may be the best thing you can do in order to protect your time. Just yesterday a good friend called me and asked if I would join a group of college students for a Q and A on Christianity. The meeting is today. It is a fantastic opportunity to engage with non-Christians. It is the cause and heartbeat of Christ. I thanked my friend, but declined the meeting. How could I do such a thing? Easy; it would leave other areas of my life unprotected. I just finished a killer week preparing for and leading our Easter gatherings. Monday, I had a long day with an Elders meeting lasting well into the evening. I was in danger of leaving my family time unprotected. By saying no, I was able to stay at my post and not leave things unprotected. It was easy to say no; I know my priorities. Will I go and do a Q and A with my friend another time? You bet. It was just the wrong time.
When you say yes, to something, you say no to something else. Saying no may be the most spiritual thing you can do today.
Let me encourage you to a discipline today. Make a list of what you are to protect. When decisions come along, lay them against the list. God has given you leadership over little kingdoms of your life. Do not be led away from the very thing that you are assigned to protect.
photo by freeparking