There is a certain man who is instructed by his master to take a load of water to the other village. He willingly accepts the task commissioned to him. At first, he was traveling happily with not much worry but to bring the water to its destination. But along the way, he finds precious stones and starts to pick them up and puts it in his bag. He is glad that his travel has been worthwhile because he knew he can sell those stones when he gets to the village. As he continued with this journey, he found more precious stones and he put them inside his bag. Little by little, his bag became heavy with stones until he started to complain and curse because of his heavy loads.
But still, he continued to find stones along the way and put them in his bag until he decided to take the water out from his bag and left it at the side of the road.
At the end of his travel, he immediately went to the nearest marketplace and see how much money he will earn from the stones. To his disappointment, those stones are not precious at all; they are all counterfeit and just the same as ordinary stones.
He suddenly remembered the water and went back for it. He found the water dried up and not fit for drinking anymore. He went home sorrowful that day and never walks that slow in his entire life because he does not know how to explain all that happened to him on that day to his MASTER.
A Lesson to Learn from the Story
There is a great lesson that we can learn from this story. Sometimes, we are like the man who was given the load of water. Our mission is to deliver the water to the other village but sometimes we lose our focus and concentrate on the stones that we thought valuable. At the end, what we thought was important will just boil to nothing.
Everyday, when we look in our world, people seem to be restless and have lost a sense of direction. Most of them are driven by SELF-PRESERVATION. They spend most of their life working or studying just to have what they call the “good life”.
They feel that there is a void or a hole in their heart and they have the urge to fill that hole. But sad to say, they are filling it with the wrong things. They spend countless time and effort chasing what they thought that really matters but they end up still feeling empty.
Setting our top priority
We must ask ourselves these questions:
What should be our priorities in our life?
Should we wake up each day thinking how we can earn money?
Should we spend countless hours in front of the computer, playing games and surfing the internet?
Should we spend all our day gossiping about other people?
Or should we procrastinate before starting to be productive?
I hope that the answer to all these questions is NO. IT IS UNDENIABLY TRUE THAT WE SPEND OUR TIME IN THINGS THAT WE HOLD MOST IMPORTANT TO US. What about you? Are you spending enough time to those things that are really important?
In this afternoon, let me share with you three points which I believe will help us to make God our top priority in life. That’s right, if you want a title for this Sermonette, the title is “Making God our Top Priority”.
First point: Develop an Unshakable Faith
This world has become a faithless generation. Everyone seems to have little faith on each other, to their government, and especially to God. Take a moment. Look around your society. You will see that faith is becoming a rare commodity. No one seems to talk about it anymore. People live by the saying, “to see is to believe”.
But should we be like that brethren?
What should be our mindset? I invite you to read with me Hebrews 11 – a portion in the Bible known as the FAITH CHAPTER.
Hebrews 11 lists some prominent personalities from the Bible who have lived and died keeping the faith. When you start reading Hebrews 11, it almost instantaneously begins through the words, “by faith”. By faith Abel, by faith Enoch, By faith Noah…
These people made God as their top priority by using their faith and translating their beliefs that will affect the way they will live this lifetime. There is a point in their lives that they finally admitted that they are nothing and they realize that it was never “to see is to believe” but by “believing they see”.
Our faith brethren is not a blind faith. Our faith is the substance of things hope for, the EVIDENCE OF THINGS NOT SEEN. Our faith is based on the SOLID FACT that one day God will return on this Earth and establish His Kingdom.
What should really CONCERN us is how much faith we do have in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ. Are we fully persuaded that what God has promised He will surely made it to pass? Or are we having doubts and hesitations at the back of our mind, being skeptic of what God can do in our lives?
The same with faith, it is the proof of things that are not seen, having the STRONGEST confidence that what the Bible says is absolutely true and nothing should be held in skepticism.
When we put God first in our life, no matter what the consequences are, we start to live more by faith and less by sight. By using our eyes of faith, we can see God’s promises from afar off and be assured of it and EMBRACE IT.
We may lose our houses, our school, career, friends, or family for the sake of following God but we must never lose faith!
It is through faith that we can please God. It is through faith that we can be healed. It is through faith that we can translate our beliefs into actions and ultimately help us seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness.
SECOND POINT: READ THE BIBLE MORE DAILY
If there is only one book that should be left in your school library, it should be your Bible.
The Bible is one of God’s greatest gifts for us, mankind. When we pray, we talk to God, but when we read the Bible, we are listening to God.
Through reading the Bible, we will know how we should live this life. The Bible is full of God’s wisdom and knowledge, which is the very thing that we should be contemplating and drenching our mind with.
Let us read, Psalms 119:11. Psalms 119 is said to be the longest chapter in the Bible and coincidentally, this longest verse is about the law and the words of God.
Let us read verse 11. Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.
God’s word should be in our hearts and mind. The word of God should be like treasures for us being hidden, concealed, and buried within our hearts that whenever someone will try to steal it from us, we can protect His word. There is no better place that you can store God’s word but only in our hearts. I believe David used the word heart here to signify that it should not be just in our heads only that serves as only as head knowledge, only academics. You might memorize all the verses in the Bible, you might have a very good photographic memory, and you might even know where to find scriptures, but if you do not apply it in your life, then it all boils to nothing. This is the main reason that David added at the latter part of psalms 119:11, that I might not sin against you. We are treasuring it within our hearts in the aim to avoid sinning. The words of God should become part of our inner being that we come to the point that we are able to say, It is written every time we are faced with trials and temptation.
How about us brethren? How often do we open our Bible?
Is it only when we are going to the Sabbath Service? Is it only when we have the spare time? When we are done with this afternoon service, will our Bible remain within our bags or simply put in a shelf and retrieve it when the Sabbath has come again?
I hope not brethren. I want to ask you a question, but of course, I won’t oblige you to raise your hands. How many of you here within this hall have already read the Bible, from cover to cover? Have you not yet made a commitment to read the Bible from Genesis to Revelation? If yes, that’s good for you and I hope you still continue to read the Bible over and over again. If not, then woe unto us if we don’t.
It is time to make it a point to read your Bible each day. Just like eating our daily meals, we need to replenish our spiritual strength by partaking the word of God. We need to make it a point that we cannot live without eating the bread of life. As what Jesus Christ Himself said, man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.
THIRD POINT: FOCUS on GOD’S KINGDOM!
We need to focus on God’s Kingdom. We have recently kept the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last Great Day. We are given the privilege to experience the Kingdom of God and His reign even to this lifetime. For eight days, we have taken spiritual food and have tasted God’s love for all mankind.
The question now is, how much of the Feasts of God affect your life? Will the recent Feasts will just be an ordinary feast and after that, we will just return to our normal life without any better change? Or should we allow the lessons we learned from the feast and mold our life according to those lessons?
Let us turn to Colossians 3:1-4.
We have already died brethren. For those who have been baptized, we have already mortified our sinful mortal body, and we came out from that watery grave as a new living person. It is not us who longer lives but Christ.
If that is the case, if we have already been dead, then why should we complain when life gets hard? Why should we lose heart, when we are bombarded with so many trials? We have already been accounted as sheep led to the slaughter house, we should have dead by now as what we read from Romans 8:36.
Focusing to God’s Kingdom takes away our focus to ourselves and our selfish desires. Brethren, This is what putting God first in our life really means.
I hope you are still in Colossians 3:1-4. Verse 2 says, set your MIND on things ABOVE, not on things on earth.
Why brethren??? It is because the things that we see are temporary. They are not meant to last for long. That is exactly what the feast of Tabernacles wants to teach us! This world is temporary. We are commanded to leave our houses and live temporarily in booths and tents, and rented dwellings.
Our houses are temporary. But we tend to be fooled and deceived by what we see. Our human minds can only comprehend what we can only see. We look at our houses as something really permanent but it is not. It feels so permanent, but the apostle Paul is telling us to set our mind on things above.
All the visible things are temporary but the invisible is permanent. Do not ever commit the mistake of believing that the physical things will give you lasting happiness. GENUINE HAPPINESS is derived from having a good relationship with our Father and Brother in heaven, as well as with other people.
Verse 4 tells us that when Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Brethren, we need to visualize that and capture that vision of the Kingdom. We need to see ourselves reigning with Christ in the future.
These are the three points that we should remember to truly make God our top priority.
First, we need to develop an unshakable faith.
Second, always read the Bible.
Third, focus on God’s Kingdom.
At the final analysis, we are nothing until God will be the center of our life. It is time to rethink our priorities. The lifetime that is given to us is our training ground. We are not promised with smooth sailing but only the assurance that God will never leave us nor forsake us as long as we make Him our top priority.
When we follow God, everything else will fall into its right place. It is my sincerest hope that we will not be like the man in the story who exchanged his life for things that eventually worth nothing. Maybe there are also “precious stones” in your life that is really hard to give up. What you do between now and then will tremendously affect your future in God’s Kingdom. Stop shaping God according to your preference, but instead start revolving your life around God and His way of life. Do not wait until you are in your deathbed and already powerless to make God your top priority. Pleasing God is mandatory, others are optional. Do not let the optional push away what really matters in this life.
It is time to make the right choice because in due time, God will give us a reward that is described by Paul as “eye has not seen nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man”. The reward that awaits us is BEYOND our limited imagination that even our bright mind cannot comprehend. This is the love and plan of God for us. Make God your top priority and see what He can do for you!