Saturday, January 7, 2017

Fourth and Goal

 Matthew 6:31-33
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

I don’t talk about it as much as I used to, but when I was a young man I played the game of football. And although my enthusiasm for the game has dwindled in recent years, I am still a fan. Over the years, I learned to appreciate the many strategies and the hard work that goes into winning games. One of the most exciting moments in any game is when your favorite team needs a touchdown to win and they have the ball within inches of the goal line. It’s fourth and goal, the game is on the line, and time is running out.

There is no time to fool around, nothing fancy, no trick plays; just snap the ball and drive the ball across the goal line - especially if you have Marshawn Lynch in the backfield. I have watched the Seahawks win many games in that final “no nonsense” drive down the field and after the game I always wonder to myself, “Why don’t they play the whole game the way they played that last minute?”

It makes me think of Parkinson’s Law: - “Activity expands to fill the allotted time.”
Funny isn’t it, when you consider that time is the only truly nonrenewable resource on the planet?
Now fast forward to the return of Jesus or to the end of your life. Now it is fourth and goal and eternity hangs in the balance. Will you able to look back satisfied that you sought the Kingdom of God as hard as you could? Are you pleased with the intensity with which you have driven for His righteousness at this point in your life?

At that moment, what do you think you will wish you had spent more time doing?

Do you think you will wished that you had spent more time seeking His Kingdom first?

How much time have you really invested in the seeking the Kingdom of God? We don’t seem to have trouble finding time to watch football, go to the mall, hunt, or the many other recreational activities that we enjoy, but when was the last time you set aside an afternoon to pray and study God’s Word? Don’t tune me out yet, much of this today is coming out of conviction not judgement.

Per a recent report from a survey of American Christians only forty-two percent knew who delivered the “Sermon on the Mount.” Only forty-eight percent could name the first 4 books of the New Testament. Of the more than 1300 surveyed, less than 1%, said that their lives were truly and directly changed by what the Bible said. In other words, lots of people are reading it, but very few are allowing it to create change.

Are you seeking first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness to the point of real change? Are you being transformed, as the Apostle Paul wrote, by the renewing of your mind? Have you been set free from the cares and concerns of this life, because your mind is focused on eternal life?

I have recently discovered that Matthew 6:33 was given to us so that everything in our lives would be good. I believe that Jesus gave us the key to real happiness in this life. I am convinced that if we are truly seeking the Kingdom of God and His righteousness with the intensity that Jesus commanded, above all other things – first, then everything else in our life will be bearable.

I have prayer’s that I pray every single day along with the personal prayers that I lift to God for others. I pray them every day. One of them is the “Serenity Prayer.”

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, taking, as Jesus did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it, trusting that You will make all things right, if I surrender to Your will, so that I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with You forever in the next. Amen.”

I am not saying that if we truly seek His Kingdom and righteousness that our lives will be perfect. That would be a lie and no one would believe me anyway. What I am saying is that if we focus more on what He desires for us, and less on what we want for ourselves we can be happy, reasonably happy in this life and eternally happy in the next life with Him.

When we remove everything that hinders us and fix our eyes on Jesus we can be like Joseph who could have a palace praise from a pit and a prison cell. We can be like Job who even though he lost everything he had, was able to proclaim, “though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.”

We can dance in the fire, rest amongst lions, face down a giant, and rejoice in persecution feeling worthy to have suffered for His name. If we are making the most of our time here by seeking Jesus first, when it is fourth and goal in our lives, there will be no doubt – we will reach the goal for which God has called us heavenward.

No comments:

Post a Comment