Lift… Your Priorities

I love being a dad to Andrea and Hailey. I love being a husband to Stacey. I love being the youth pastor at Fairwood Church. I love the friendships I’ve made throughout my life. I love going to the gym. I love competing in sports like softball and Sunday afternoon football. I love being a fan of my hometown teams like the Mariners, Seahawks, and Huskies. I love the life the God has blessed me with. I love that I am a child of God.

There are many roles I play in life. I am a husband, dad, pastor, friend, brother, and son among others. I have many interests; sports, parenting, leadership, family, friends, among many others. When I really stop and think about it though, I am more convinced than ever before that the cause of Christ is the only cause worth giving my life for. When I say the cause of Christ I mean doing what Jesus told us to do just before he left earth. Do you remember what He said? “Go to the people of all nations and make them my disciples. Baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and teach them to do everything I have told you.” Matthew 28:19-20

There are lots of other great things to spend your time doing. Seriously, it’s great to be well rounded and have lots of interests, but there is only thing worth giving your life for. Seeing God’s Kingdom advance, building His church, reconciling people to their creator is unbelievably fun. It doesn’t just stop at fun it also happens to be what Jesus said we’re “POST” to be doing. God’s plan for saving the world includes you! You were designed to be a major player in this game. You’re to be one of the lead actors in this drama. What I’m saying is that it’s time to lift… your priorities and get moving.

Read this story from 1 Kings 17. Elijah is on the move and is told by God to stay in a town called Zarephath:

As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

Not very tender hearted if you ask me. She said she was preparing her last meal and Elijah basically says, “Me first.” This woman has been challenged in the area of her priorities. Is she going to provide for her son and herself or be obedient.

So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

Amazing story, but there are a few others in scripture that are similar in theme. Read the account found in Matthew 14 below. Jesus has just been informed that his cousin and good friend John the Baptist has been murdered.

When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place. Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

Jesus obviously deserves, wants, and desired some alone time. Yet His priority was to do exactly what God, His Dad, had placed Him on the earth to do. So He ministered. The story continues:

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food.”

Jesus replied, “They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.”

“We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish,” they answered.

“Bring them here to me,” he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves. Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people. They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

The disciples were looking at the situation and making some realistic assessments. One, it’s late, we’re tired and hungry and so are the people. Two, we’re a long way from any fast food joints and it’s gonna be tough to feed these people. This led them to the obvious conclusion that it’s best to send them home and meet again tomorrow. The problem is that Jesus had other plans in mind.

He wanted His disciples to understand that His plan was to be their priority. He knew they were worn out, stressed out, maybe even burned out. However, it was when they obeyed and served despite their feelings that the miracle occurred.

Miracles happen when we make God plans our priority. Remember, you probably have many interests in your life. You probably have many roles that you play. No matter what your interests and your role the most important role you play is as a child of God. The most important job you and I have is to be about our Father’s business.

One more scripture for you. Proverbs 11:25 says, “The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.”

Stacey and I strive to live our lives that way. It’s way more fun. I want our youth ministry to do the same. Let’s make God’s plan our priority.

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