Setting priorities requires understanding. Understanding not only the issues being prioritized, but the effect those priorities have.
We often refer to Mark, chapter 12 verses 41 to 44 when it comes to being charitable, “41 And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much 42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:44 For all they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.“
This is often interpreted as illustrating the depth of commitment of a poor widow who gives all she has in contrast to wealthy people giving what is easily afforded. It is not. Read further.
The next chapter (13) begins “And as he went out of the temple, one of his disciples saith unto him, Master, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!2 And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives over against the temple, Peter and James and John and Andrew asked him privately,4 Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign when all these things shall be fulfilled?5 And Jesus answering them began to say, Take heed lest any man deceive you:6 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.7 And when ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.8 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows”
In this context, you can see that the widow and the wealthy had given to build a great temple, but it was a false temple. She had given all she had to scribes building great temples, when Christ, who had for her eternal life, stood only steps away, ignored.
As we make choices in life, it is our best qualities that move us to give of ourselves. We should not be blind to what it is we are giving to, and what giving denies to the the issues we have not prioritized. More importantly, we need to be selfish enough to give of ourselves to that which will benefit us. To do that, we need to understand what will actually benefit us.