Summary: This is a sermon on priorities. God is to be first place in our hearts.
First Things First
Most of us live our daily life by a schedule. We carry with us our “Daily Planner” and are constantly making entries so that we will know where we are supposed to be, and exactly when we are supposed to be there! Some of us where watches or pagers that have an alarm that we can set so as to remind us of important meetings. Because of the complex and busy lives we live, such planning is absolutely necessary because there are certain things that must be done each day, and they must be done in a specific pattern, or order. It is not that we like conducting our lives in such a manner, but scheduling, and prioritizing is beneficial to us. Not only are we able to accomplish our work with less headache and hassle, but we are also more productive.
As we look at the text this morning, we find that Jesus is preaching His famous, ‘Sermon on the Mount.’ This sermon of ‘practical life lessons’ was far more than just a seminar on scheduling and how to make the most of one’s time. Rather, Jesus was teaching men how to escape the pressures and worries of this world by placing their faith and trust in the God of Heaven, and in so doing, spiritually prioritizing one’s life..
Several times Jesus begins His teaching of a particular subject with the word, ‘first.’ The word first, by simple definition, means number one. One is ‘first place,’ ‘at top of the list,’ ‘the priority.’ The definition given in the Greek dictionary for first is ‘that which is foremost.’ We often use the word ‘priorities’ to say that “…we must get our priorities in order.” Well, guess what? According to the dictionary I searched, there is no such word as priorities because there can only be one thing in first place at any given time. This is the very thought Jesus had in mind when He told His followers to “Seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness.”
As Jesus taught that day, He sat on a hillside. Before Him was a vast multitude of people who had followed Him there. Seated before Him was a sea of faces representing a complete cross-section of humanity. There were people of different races; of different economic groups. There were people of different lifestyles and professions; people of different education and philosophies. While it may be easy for us to view them as being so vastly different from us as modern man, they were very much like us in attitude, and in the desires of their heart. They were a people who had cares and concerns; people who were troubled and often worried about the future.
Jesus, who walked among them, as the Incarnation of God; as the very One who created and sustained them, knew of their concerns. So, He devoted one third of His sermon that day to that very subject. Jesus talked about food, clothing, and shelter and told the people not to worry about any of those things because God the Father knew their need long before they ever had it. Therefore, He, who fed the sparrows and clothed the grass of the field; He who numbered the very hairs on their head would meet the physical needs of their life as they looked to Him!