First things First!
The Main Things.
Does this glass jar look anything like your life? You know, you are sure everything would fit if you could just keep the main things the MAIN THINGS! If you are in need of regrouping, if you are starting over or know you should, but especially, if you want to know God’s will for your life, then pray that God would open the eyes of your heart to hear his Word to you this day.
Simplicity. ‘Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, with all thy soul, with all thy mind, and with all thy strength . . . and love your neighbor as yourself.’ (the passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark%2012.28-33&version=NASB&interface=print. I would have loved to be standing there when this verbal exchange took place!)
Imagine with me that the glass jar pictured above represents your life and is empty, and the sand sits in another cylinder alongside it. The large rocks represent what should be our first priorities, ‘got it?
Jesus said, Love the Lord thy God—
With all thy heart – Love God with abandon! Enjoy him! Delight yourself in him,
give yourself over to his great love for you, and then love him in return—from your heart. Love the things that God loves . . . and those things which break his heart? May they break your heart, too. The only way to really know his heart is to listen to his voice and hear what he says; he has spoken to you and to me, and it is recorded in the pages of Scripture. Love God’s Word, feast on it, and you will surely develop an unparalleled love for God, and for the things that make God’s heart beat fast.
[put the first large rock ‘heart’ in the jar]
Love the Lord thy God with all thy soul – Your soul is the deepest part of you. I think if it were an organ, it would be about an inch below your sternum, above your stomach, and way deep inside. Surely, the soul houses the gift of wonder. When the soul is full of the wonderment of God, it allows one to see and love the majesty of God, and it does not allow one to shrink God down to just a super-sized version of us. The soul is fed when it takes succor from the grandiose person of God, and then is moved to spontaneous worship.
Love the Lord thy God with all thy mind – Your mind will, and surely does override both heart and soul, if it is not guarded. Paul said we are to ‘take every thought captive’1, which means we are to rein in our minds lest they run away with our wills. Loving God with all your mind involves managing your mind; it means making the most of your mind. It means loving God logically and creatively, seriously and humorously, intuitively and thoughtfully.2 Exercise your mind, stretch it, and be a good steward of it by disciplining it. ‘Whatever is true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy—think on these things,’ Paul wrote.3 [put a third rock ‘mind’ in the jar]
Love the Lord thy God with all thy strength – How are you taking care of the temple in which the Holy Spirit resides? If you ever parented an infant and then a toddler, you remember how carefully you fed and cared for that precious little life - you ought to look at your own body the same way. Feed the temple that is your body with nutritious food, rest it, and thoroughly exercise it. And then, with your body, serve God. Christianity is not meant to be a spectator sport. You are not meant to be merely a consumer. Paul said “we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”4 [put a fourth rock ‘strength’ in the jar]
Love your neighbor as yourself. A revolution of monstrous proportions would take place if folks would love others as they love themselves! Of course, you are to love your family well, after God, they are next in line ... but do you love your neighbor with kindness, compassion, forgiveness, mercy and a heart to serve selflessly? (Remember that Jesus described a neighbor as that one who is near or the one we encounter who is in need—i.e, the Good Samaritan saved the life of one he culturally was supposed to hate . . . radical stuff) There is a reason that the previous edict was given before this one—when we love the Lord with our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we are able to love our neighbors. [put the fifth large rock ‘love others’ in the jar]
There are many smaller things, which might be represented by pebbles that could be poured from the top to trickle down, and find places to lodge. But when the first big rocks are in place, then the pebbles fit in easily and after them, the sand . . . and after the sand, even some water. First things first. Keep the main things the main things.
How we doing?
Praying for you, my friends - wherever you are.
1 - 2 Corinthians 10.5
2 - Mark Batterson, Primal
3 - Philippians 4.8
4 - Ephesians 2.10