First Things First

Have you ever had the opportunity to watch Heaven lean into Earth? I did recently as a young person prayed his first prayer. Our Bible lesson had been on the pain of the world and the hope of Jesus.

The kids had began to share what was on their hearts and their tales of despair found me quickly swiping a tear away. These children, who shouldn’t have a care in the world, told of their heartaches and many worries. I listened as they talked about home, school, and their endless obligations. Later, when I asked who wanted to pray, one young man raised his hand and replied, “I will but I’ve never done it before.” He held nothing back as he laid his heart out before our Creator and it was beautiful.

Our children are weighed down with the burdens of the world. They’re learning how to react to pain, sin, and the brokenness around them from us. They’re wondering how to live and looking to the adults in their lives to tell them what the most important part is. I wonder how we’re doing at that.

Jesus says to seek first the Kingdom of God but I’m afraid that instead we too often:

Seek first the 401k, pension, or IRA.

Seek first to win.

Seek first the designer labels.

Seek first our happiness.

Seek first the comfortable, the easy, the simple.

Seek first self.

Seek first to be the best looking, most talented, most popular, most decorated, most fit, most educated.

How much would our lives change if we sought first his Kingdom instead of our own?

Church, it’s time to clear the table of schedules, deadlines, appointments, permission slips, college applications, work, bills, and tell our children that nothing matters more than loving God and loving others. Let’s tell them that how they love other people is more important than where they go to college or even if they do. That serving the poor is more important than any team, squad, or club. That being a part of a faith family and encouraging other believers matters more than homework, television, practice, or work. Let’s show them with our actions and words that nothing matters more than the Kingdom of God because nothing does.

When we do, life may not become easier but I’m certain it will become meaningful. I guarantee our kids will remember. I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that Heaven will rally behind us and God’s glory will empower us. I’m positive our children will grow into people who know God loves them and has the power to change our lives and the lives of those we hold dear. Let’s show them what matters most so they’ll be filled with joy and peace by the God of hope.

We need to quit teaching them that they need to be first and remind them who holds that title in our lives. And then let’s worship him together. Our children deserve it. Our Lord expects it. Our communities need it.