Matthew Parris wrote in the Spectator last week: “Why is Christianity so unhelpful on the very ethical dilemma that most concerns ordinary people in our everyday lives? Why does Jesus have nothing helpful to say about the ranking of obligations?”
His problem is that Christianity doesn’t help in the practical decisions of who to prioritise care for. Why is it that we consider some things more grievous wrongs than others, why are those closer to us more ‘important’ than those in identical situations who we do not know? He uses the example of someone applying for a job, we might want them to succeed, those who believe in prayer and many who do not, might pray for their success. But that success comes at a cost, for them to get the job almost certainly requires that someone else does not.
When I pray to find a parking space I’m probably interceding against someone else finding that slot.
And yet God cares for everything, appropriately given Parris’ example, Matthew 10.29 says: “Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Even more fittingly, the verses that immediately follow give possibly one of the few examples of biblical prioritisation. Continue reading