Posts Tagged ‘relationship with God’

Luke 4:42-44 — CLEMSON CAROLINA GAME THIS SATURDAY! Now that I have your attention….This passage is about priorities. The worst thing that can happen to us in life is realize at our deathbed that we had wasted time, that we had not made use of the time that we had on this earth. It reminds us that we need to get our priorities straight.

In this week of the Clemson-Carolina rivalry game, this passage is a great reminder that we must keep things in the right perspective. I will tell you I am a passionate fan of the Clemson Tigers. My mood on Saturdays is affected by whether my Tigers win or lose. But we must remember to keep it in perspective. It’s just a game. At the end of the day, it is not the most important thing that will happen Saturday. For me, this year, God is teaching me just that, two of my dearest friends in the world watched their mother (and mother in law) pass into eternity on Wednesday evening. The funeral is on Saturday at 2pm, right in the middle of the Clemson-Carolina game. However, to me, there is no question that I am going to miss the game to be at this funeral of the mother/mother-in-law of two of the original charter members of my life group. They are more dear to me than Clemson football. These two people deserve my respect. They have served their mother who has been bedridden for two years. They have been there with almost round the clock these past two years. Outside of church, CR, work, and their son, their mother has been their vigil. I will not disrespect them over what ultimately is just a game. Clemson-Carolina does not feed people. Clemson-Carolina does not solve social injustice. Clemson-Carolina does not end sex slave trafficking in India. Clemson-Carolina does not solve immigration issues. It changes nothing. To make the game a priority in my life is just wrong when it is compared to the suffering and pain at losing a loved one and the end of a long road of suffering for their mother. Being there when friends need you matters. Honoring commitments matter. Setting an example matters. Setting an example to my wife and girls what my priorities are and should be are what matters. Fighting the fights that need fighting in life are what matters. We fight for things that matter in life not wasting time on things that don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Tigers, but their priority in my life must, must be kept in proper perspective. My priorities in life should start with things of eternal value and go down in priority from there.

This idea is of priorities is exactly what this passage is about. Jesus had his priorities and he executed them in exactly the order that His priorities were throughout His ministry. The first thing that we notice in this passage is that Jesus departed from Peter’s house and went to a desolate place. This shows us the number one priority of Jesus in His function as the Son of God on earth. His first and foremost priority was not healing. It was not preaching. His first and foremost priority was his relationship with the Father. Jesus was constantly sneaking off to be alone with the Father in prayer. We see it throughout His ministry. We see it right up to the last minute of freedom in His life before He was arrested by the temple guards. Jesus constantly in prayer. Jesus was always seeking to do the Father’s will for Him. This should be our priority. Seeking things of eternal value. Seeking God’s will for our lives. Having a deep abiding relationship with the Father should be our top priority. When we are like David, after God’s own heart, we begin to focus on things that really matter. We begin to seek to do things that are in the Father’s will. Clemson-Carolina gets put in its proper place – entertainment. Having a proper relationship with God the Father is, should be, and always will be the most important priority in our lives. If we do not get that one thing right, everything else falls part. Think about it. Our lives were a mess before we met Jesus Christ. When we are not seeking God’s will for our lives first and foremost, everything else is all out of what. When we do not put God first, everything is a deck of cards that falls apart at the slightest breeze. Jesus had his priorities straight. So should we.

The second priority of Jesus’ life AFTER His relationship with the Father was preaching the Good News. He said I MUST preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well for I was sent for this purpose. Jesus was sent to preach and teach and instruct people on the kingdom of God and about how seeking the Father’s will is what our life is supposed to be about. He came to tell us that ritual and legalism are not the way to the Father. He came to preach to the world that it was through Him that we have eternal life. Shouldn’t this be our priority as well? Shouldn’t our first priority be to share what God has done in our lives through Jesus Christ with others. Jesus came to proclaim to the world what it takes to enter the Kingdom. It is not Carolina-Clemson. I know that in the South, college football is like religion. Many people make it the most important thing in life. They end friendships over some disrespect that a fan of a rival school may have made to your school. We get fired up over this stuff at times. We sit and yell and scream to the top of our lungs for our favorite college team. We get to the point of wanting to fight others over our favorite college team. We don’t speak to family members for years over some disrespect they have shown to Clemson or Carolina. What if we had these same passions over eternal things? What if we expressed our praise in church in the same fashion as we do at Clemson or Carolina games? What if we invested in identifying ourselves as Christians as much as we spend on Clemson or Carolina attire? What if we shared the gospel with the same fashion as we have for Clemson or Carolina? Sharing the Good News was what Jesus said He MUST do. Other things in life are preferences. Sharing the gospel is a priority. It is a must do. May we have Clemson-Carolina passion for that! May we have Clemson-Carolina passion for seeing life change in others by telling them about what Jesus did in ours! Jesus had an intense laser focus on His ministry. He was solely focused on teaching people about what God expects of us, about how God loves each and every one of us, about how He was sent by the Father to make us right with God. Nothing was to deter Him from that. Everything else was secondary. If his was Jesus’ second priority, don’t you think it should be ours too?

Clemson-Carolina or being there for friends when they are in need, honoring a friendship, standing up for things that matter. Jesus had His priorities straight. Relationship with the Father in Heaven was His first priority. That should be our first priority too. Sharing the gospel with others, that was Jesus second priority. That should be our second priority too. Things of eternal value were of top priority to Jesus. Certainly, I am not downplaying sports and those who excel at them. I tell people kiddingly that football is life. Football teaches us many valuable, eternal lessons in life when participate in it. There are values that I learned playing football that are of great value to me today. These lessons though are not about temporary wins and losses. The lessons that I carry with me from football are the eternal ones. Being part of a team working toward a greater goal, understanding my role in achieving that greater team goal, picking yourself up from utter defeat and moving on, realizing that we are not all talented in the same way and being ok with that, developing relationships that last, forgiving others for their failures, having them forgive me for mine, and for fans it teaches us about loyalty through thick and thin and not abandoning ship when things get tough. All of these things have eternal value. Even if we are football players we can honor God by the way we play the game. As fans, we can take this loyalty thing into our lives and use it like in our marriages – being loyal through thick and thin even when times are hard and so on. We must though realize that regardless of what the game teaches us, the game is game meant to entertain. It is not religion. It is not reason to end relationships. It is not reason to fight with your neighbor. It is not reason to humiliate. The game itself though teaching eternal lessons to participants and fans alike has no eternal value. That prior to the current streak of five wins by Carolina, Clemson won 24 of 32 in the 32 years prior matters not in eternity. What matters in eternity is our relationship with our Father in Heaven through Jesus Christ. What matters in eternity is sharing the gospel with others. What matters in eternity is my soul, your soul and the souls of others. When we arrive in heaven, there will be Clemson and Carolina fans there from the centuries. It will matter not to us then, we will just be glad to be in heaven together, celebrating our Savior all the day long. This is what I want the story of my life to be. I want it to be said I was a Christian first. I want it to be said that I was a good husband. I want it to be said that I was good father. I want it to said that I was a good friend. Then way down the line after that, low on the scale, that I was a Clemson fan. I want it to be said that I had my priorities straight. That is one of the reasons that I will gladly be sitting a memorial service on Saturday afternoon right during the Clemson-Carolina game. Jesus set the example of having our eternal priorities first. Everything else is secondary.