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Faithlife

To think Like Jesus:Priorities

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          A couple I read about in Atlanta read that My Fair Lady was still playing on Broadway in New York City. They wanted to go so badly, so they bought their tickets months ahead of time and planned their vacation.

          The long-awaited day came and they flew to New York City. They presented their tickets, walked in, and sat down in wonderful seats, seven rows from the front, near the orchestra.

          To the man's amazement, the entire place filled up except the seat right next to him. He was curious about that. At the intermission, he leaned over in conversation with the lady in the second seat away from him and commented how they had to wait so many months to get tickets to a performance. When there was such a demand for seats, why would someone not come. Did she have any idea? She said, "Yes, as a matter of fact, these two seats are mine. This one and that one' She explained further, "You see, that seat belonged to my husband, and he died." The man said, "I'm ... I'm terribly sorry. But couldn't you have invited a friend to come with you?" Her answer was classic. She said, "No, they're all at the funeral home right now.[1]"

          By the way, that’s a true story! But true or not it thrusts before us the truth about priorities. Priorities are those definite things in your life which take precedence, i.e. are importance over all else in your life. Maybe you would define them as those things that you know and feel that you must do to keep your life going. But yet, as the opening story suggests it is very telling on a person when their priorities are not right.

          And how telling it is indeed when we as Christians have our priorities, our things that we think we must do to keep our life going are wrong and out of whack! Life is tuff enough just to live with what the world throws at us; but imagine on top of all that, having wrong and selfish priorities which bring us addition worry, addition stress, and addition sin! We can become our worst enemy because we have the wrong priorities in life! You can not afford nor enjoy to have your priorities dictated to you by the world, by your jobs, by your circumstances, by your flesh, by anyone else except the Lord! Period!

          One major reason why Christians are stressed out, worried to pieces and have given up completely is because somewhere in there past they have refused to have the right priorities in life and now everything is snowballed to the point where they can not see there way out. 

          We have think rightly about our priorities in this life; if we are going to do so, then we have to think like Jesus!

          The Lord while on earth watch this…was never late for an appointment not once! But we never see or hear him telling the disciples, “hurry up, guys, or I’m going to be late for my next healing!” Jesus was never late yet he was never in a hurry either, he seemed to gracefully move about from one person’s problems to the next never missing anyone plus while having his needs daily meet without any stress or anxiety. Jesus had his priorities straight, which enabled him to have the time to do the father’s will plus have his needs meet so to enjoy life not just endure it!

          Jesus speaks about priorities in his sermon on the mount because he knew that we would struggle putting his will first in our lives. Jesus covers the basics when it comes to life and then He adds the new priorities that should describe our life after we are saved. 

I. Basic Priorities of life   v25-32

Jesus talks about three things that kind of sums up our physical, basic priorities of life.

A. What are they?

What are we going to eat? Food

What are we going to drink? Water

What are we going to where? Clothes

          Watch this…there’s nothing sinful are wrong, (well maybe if you eat a steak and banana pudding after, that’s debatable) in any of these things because when you think about whose talking here. Remember that man was created by God to eat, and to drink and to wear clothes. So why is Jesus talking about these things in a negative light?

          Jesus is summing up the great rat race that we hear and see every day from the world around us. People lost as well as saved are using the meeting of these needs as the centre of their life, their priorities in life. I.e. these folks think at least from their actions, that life is one unending pursuit of these material things thus missing life’s real meaning.

          There’s nothing sinful in these things themselves, but these very basic needs can become sin by the way we chose to meet them. That’s where sin enters in and produces what Jesus warned against when He said, “Take no thought” four times! Those three words are just one word in the Greek and it means “anxious concern”. So what Jesus wasn’t meaning was not to ever think about what you are going to eat, wear or drink, but Jesus means that we shouldn’t be worried and over wrought by anxiety over such things that we do nothing else.

          Meeting these basic needs we have shouldn’t be our sole priorities in life but the truth is there are! That’s the truth with lost folks. The only things that matter to them is their life, their careers, their dreams, their goals, their rights, that’s the reason for their living! You back them into any corner and they will tell you that they are here on this earth, for one reason which is to make money to meet these needs in their life! I thought that way when I was lost and so does every other lost person! But that shouldn’t be true of us since we have been saved. Meeting these needs, that’s just existing. Animals do that, but God has called us to live life not just exist, there’s a difference! We will get to that in a minute!

B. What’s the by-product of us meeting these needs ourselves?

Worry. Stress. Anxiety. Fretfulness. Apprehension. Nervousness.

          Take your pick, because if your priorities in life are to meet these needs you will experience one or all of these. Why? Simple. Your trying to do God’s job and your mind, your physical frame can not take such pressure for ever. You were not designed to bear such loads, however we were designed for following and fellowshipping with God!

          Worry.

          I saw a sign once, it read, “What worries you, masters you.”

That’s true. We are not to have anything be our master except Jesus himself. And if we let worry engulf us over the things that God is supposed to meet, we are being master by worry and not the Lord.    

          Jesus brings up some examples of some things that aren’t overwhelmed with worry and care, because they have God for their master!

Ø     26 the birds of the air

They don’t worry store up and horde. God feeds them! A lazy bird is a dead bird!

Ø     28 the lilies of the field

They don’t work, produce, yet God arrays them with beauty. 

Ø     32 the lost gentiles

God even provides food for the lost folks. They don’t realize it, but God supplies their food! He’s their master and they don’t even know it!

Worry for us becomes sin. Such worry about the future is sin because it denies the love, wisdom, and power of God. It denies the love of God by implying that He doesn’t care for us. It denies His wisdom by implying that He doesn’t know what He is doing. And it denies His power by implying that He isn’t able to provide for our needs.

This type of worry causes us to devote our finest energies to making sure we will have enough to live on. Then before we know it, our lives have passed, and we have missed the central purpose for which we were made. God did not create us in His image with no higher destiny than that we should consume food. We are here to love, worship, and serve Him and to represent His interests on earth. Our bodies are intended to be our servants, not our masters.

II. Kingdom Priorities in Life   v33

          We saw what the pursuit of just the basic needs of life will get us. But Jesus gives another pursuit that we should take up! One that should become a priority in ourlives!

Instead of making these basic needs our priorities, we are to seek the kingdom of God! 

          That is a strange way to put it, “seek the kingdom of God”. I was watching the TV coverage of the election showing those volunteers working like devils trying to get Kerry elected. They were knocking doors, answering phones, making signs, etc. They stopped and asked one of those volunteers what they were doing in their own words and it helped me with this phrase. They said, “Oh, we are just seeking to win the White House for Kerry, that’s all!”

And boy did they change their priorities so to allow them to seek the white house! Some took off of work, some had sack lunches, some were wet, all were cold, all for the glory of seeking the White House for John Kerry!         

What does it mean to seek the kingdom of God for the glory of Jesus Christ? It means you do whatever, be whatever, give whatever, sacrifice whatever, endure whatever, lose whatever you have too, to see Christ’s kingdom advance in this earth! It means you work as hard as those Kerry volunteers did trying to get their man in office! For two years it was a priority of there’s.

          The difference is Jesus is already in office, Jesus has already won, we are not fighting for victory, but fighting from victory! As we see more souls swept into the kingdom of God and more Christians take their stand beside us, God’s kingdom marches on!

          There are some ways to know if you have kingdom priorities.

1.      The Bible is the something you can’t live without!

Like water and bread, like the very air you breath, you must have it! By the way how much have you had this week.

2.      The Bible is something that you have to live in!

You traffic in the bible, you have a grasp of the flow of scripture. You see yourself and your problems mirrored in those of the bible. You see Jesus and what he done pictured in those OT types and symbols. You see the truth of scripture lived out in life! Billy Sunday once had a heckler in one of his meetings, Billy brought him up upon the platform, the critic stated proudly that he didn’t believe the bible was true. Once Billy heard that, he grabbed the man’s nose and twisted hard until blood started to come out of the man’s nose. With the man on his knees Billy Sunday said, you see that blood mister? The bible says, Pro. 30:33 “….the wringing of the nose bringeth forth blood” so the bible is true after all!”

Do you know enough bible to do that?

 

3.      The church becomes your second home.

I like what my pastor said of me and my brother. He said if these boys didn’t show up for church, we would look in the obituaries. I gained a second home when I got saved. Boy I loved it.  

4.      The church becomes a place of service.

Did you know that I did just about everything a person could do in the church before I left for seminary. I ran the bus, taught a class, ushered, worked in the yard, cleaned the church, broke whatever I didn’t clean.   

5.      Serving others becomes your privilege.

6.      Promoting your church until others think you are crazy.

7.      Witnessing to those whom the Lord puts in your way.

8.      Praying, uplifting one another is seen as just being apart of the family of God.

 

 Here such things you probably can’t help but think that such people go without, and have to learn how to do without those other things?

But watch this…Jesus says if you Put his kingdom first, then he will put your needs first by saying “…and all these things shall be added unto you.” All those things that everyone feverishly seeks after, guess what? God gives.

It’s all about priorities. Who comes first in your life Jesus or you? Who has precedence in your life, your church or your job? What matters most to you, seeking the reason why God put you on this planet or just pay your taxes and die!

Closing:

This is the way Jesus thinks, kingdom first and all else second!

Some one once said, that the church could really change the world again, if Jesus only came first and nobody cared who came in second!

Learn this one thing…You are not God! If we really believe that then why don’t we act like it! The ulcers, headaches, panic attaches, stress meltdowns all point to the fact that we don’t have what it takes to be God! 

That right there will save you from making the mistake of believing that can control everything. When the truth is that you and I can control nothing. So instead of wasting time trying to make this or that happen, why don’t you make sure that you have kingdom priorities! Seeking the things of God first! That means making the things of God a priority in your life. Don’t fret about someone else, just be concerned about your priorities!        

That’s what Jesus think about it.

                                                

         


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[1] ARE YOUR PRIORITIES STRAIGHT?, Esword

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