The number one priority


            Jesus had just finished speaking to a rich man who had come to him to ask him a question; “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?”  The rich man claimed he had been faithful in keeping all of the commandments, but Jesus told him he lacked one thing; he needed to sell all that he had and give it to the poor and then come and follow him.  This was too much for the rich man to concede and he left very sad.  The scripture below is what followed.


            Then Peter said, “See, we have left all and followed  you.”

            So he said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom  of God, who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life” (Luke 18: 29.)


            Peter draws attention to the fact that he and his fellow believers had left everything to follow Jesus.  Jesus replied to this declaration with a promise.  He promised not just to replace what they had sacrificed, but to return it in abundance (more than what was laid down.)  There was a stipulation placed on the rewards; just giving things up wasn’t sufficient; the sacrifices had to be made for the sake of the kingdom of God.  There were also two kinds of rewards; the rewards provided for them in the present time (their lives upon the earth; not necessarily material in nature) and the rewards coming to them after their deaths (eternal life with God.)

            Jesus runs down a list of things that many people placed before God.  Many people refused to sell their homes and go out in to the ministry field with Jesus because they made their homes the most important thing in their lives; for some it was their parents, for some, their brothers, for some, their wives, and for still others, it was their children.  There are priorities in life, and everyone has something in the top spot, and whatever is in that top spot set’s the limitations on all of the other priorities.  In one portion of scripture a disciple said to Jesus when faced with leaving everything to follow him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father;” to which Jesus replied, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”  Another example was the rich young man who refused to sell all of his possessions and follow Jesus; he had placed his wealth first, and because of this, he walked away sad, choosing to keep his wealth.  The man was a servant to his wealth.  Those who put God first find that their wealth actually begins to serve God.  Everyone serves the number one priority in their lives.  There are very basic needs that most people think of as essential priorities.  For instance, food, water, and clothing seem to be of utmost importance; yet let’s examine what type of priority Jesus places on these things; “Therefore do not worry, saying ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For after all these things the gentiles seek.  For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Mathew 6: 31-33.)  For those who are following Jesus, the number one priority must be God.

            I asked a man ounce who claimed to believe in Jesus, how much time he spent brushing his teeth in the morning and at night.  Apparently his daily tooth care composed about 4-5 minutes.  Then I asked him how much time he spent reading the bible, and he replied, “0.”  I said, “Then it is safe to say, that in your life, your teeth are more important than God?”  He conceded this to be the case.  A person who spends a lifetime putting God off will, in the end, be put off by God.

            Today, in our lives, God must come first.  He has to be the number one thing and everything else has to come in second.  Yes, sacrifices are necessary to make this happen.  Selling all your possessions is not necessarily what he is asking, but he is asking to come before those possessions.  If a man has wealth in the place where God should be, he has to sacrifice his love for wealth and replace it with his love for God.  Yet, not everyone has placed wealth above God.  Many have placed family, loved ones, children, time, possessions, freedom, recreation, sleep, drugs or alcohol, a job, a car, a house, land, education, and the list goes on and on.  We can place God first if we are willing to let go of whatever it is we are serving and turn to serve him.

            “Lord Heavenly Father, help us to sacrifice those things that are getting in the way of our service to You.  Help us to place You first and to not be afraid to make changes in our lives.  Please be the number one priority in our lives; be the thing we love most in our hearts.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we look forward to Your Coming Kingdom.  We praise You, we thank You, and we love You, and we ask all of these things in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.

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