Monday, June 13, 2011


Friday is the start of our Hopedale Baptist Church Kids' Camp.  Our theme this year is about the priorities of the heart.

In examining the theme and preparing the messages for the kids, I can't help looking at the priorities of my own heart with a critical eye. Perhaps they are in need of some adjustment.  Certainly, one has to begin with the question, "What is the priority of my heart?"

As a follower of Jesus, I think of the lawyer that approached Jesus to inquire about the greatest law (there were over 600 laws according to the Jewish tradition).  Jesus responded by saying, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. and the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets."  

There are many of us that say we are Christians; followers of Jesus, but how many of us are really His disciples?  How many of us are students of His teachings?  Isn't that what it means to be a Christian?  How can we follow the Great Commission command of "teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you" if we haven't studied the things that He has commanded us?

Paul wrote that he wanted to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection; to share in His suffering; to become like Him in His death (completely submissive to the Father). I think that this is the mark of a true disciple--to want to know Jesus; to want to know how He lived and what He taught ... and how He died.  And to understand the power of the resurrection that we might also experience eternal life through Jesus.

In the end, I have to ask myself, "Is following Jesus the priority of my heart?"  And if it's not, then what is?  Am I more concerned with the things that I want for myself? Or the things that the world tells me that I should strive for?  Am I driven by peer pressure and motivated by money and the comfort that it buys?  Do the cares  and worries of everyday life have a greater influence on my decisions than the teachings of Jesus?

Really...what is the priority of my heart?

At the suggestion of a preacher friend, I've started reading the book In His Steps by Charles M Sheldon. The book was first published in 1897 and has sold more than 30 million (yes, that's more than 30,000,000) copies.  I'm sure that countless others have read the book by borrowing from friends, the library or reading it for free online (as I am). It is the book that may have inspired the widely used question, "What Would Jesus Do?" (WWJD)

I'm only a few chapters into the book but can already see the struggles faced by those that choose to live by Jesus' principles in a capitalistic society. I haven't yet reached the part about the blessings received (I am assuming this part is to come) from following Jesus.  If you would like to read this book and don't mind online reading, you can find it here.

So, what are your priorities?
God, family, country?
Is it important that we list our priorities?
Or is it possible that we could just focus on one thing?

What if our only priority--our only concern--is a right relationship with God through Jesus?  Wouldn't everything else fall into its proper place?

If our relationship with God is right, then we can't be a poor spouse or a lousy parent; the nature of our relationship with God won't allow it.
If our relationship with God is right, then we can't be a poor employee or an over-bearing employer; the nature of our relationship with God won't allow it.
If our relationship with God is right, then we can't be a rebellious child, a cranky neighbor, a self-centered citizen, a complainer, gossip, trouble maker or just a grouchy person; the nature of our relationship with God won't allow it.

If our relationship with God is right, then everything else does fall into its proper place.

I hope that you'll excuse me, now.
I have some relationship work to tend to.

John <><

1 comment:

Petrecere Burlaci said...

Hello, for me, my first priority it is my family, after that cames my career. But all of that are nothing it i`m not healthy.