Summary: People get so focused on the immediate: work, friends, hobbies, sports, and the busyness of life that they lose focus on the important and wake up one day and realize they left their spouse and kids behind.

Yes, I’ve cheated on Tiffany: It has happened twice. In 2005 & the first part of 2006 and also in 2009: I’m going to tell you the persons name in a moment. Everyone of you know her. During the seasons I cheated, she was always on my mind. She consumed so much of my time and energy. I talked about her all the time. She would keep me up at night. The most heartbreaking thing is she was already married. She has a husband. Her name is People’s Church. I cheated on my wife and kids when we were building these two buildings. I got so wrapped up in getting these buildings done that my family took a back seat. Even when I was home I wasn’t home. I would be out on a date with my wife and I wouldn’t be there mentally. I was checked out. All I talked about was the building. I was more short and on edge. My wife was frustrated with me and I couldn’t blame her. Thankfully, after the buildings were done I snapped out of it and stopped cheating on my wife. The problem is some of you are cheating and have been cheating for year and you’ve never snapped out of it and your family is suffering because of it.

1. Somebody or something is going to get cheated

Luke 2:41-46 Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42 When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43 After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44 Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45 When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. (NIV)

A. Joseph and Mary got so caught up with the feast, they got so caught up with talking and hanging out with family and friends that they left Jesus behind! This happened to Tiffany and I at Thanksgiving. Drove to a hotel in Kansas City: Tiffany was focused 3 kids & dad’s family: Me luggage: Left Case. We got so focused on the immediate that we lost focus on important. The luggage really wasn’t the most important thing but it got me off focus on what really mattered. In life, this happens all the time. People get so focused on the immediate: work, friends, hobbies, sports, and the busyness of life that they lose focus on the important and wake up one day and realize they left their spouse and kids behind. They’ve cheated the important for the immediate!

B. In life, somebody or something is going to get cheated. Somebody or something is going to get left behind. That’s just the way life works. You have to choose who you’re going to cheat. If you don’t choose to cheat the immediate, you will end up cheating the important. I should have left the luggage behind and made sure my kids made it to the hotel room. But the immediate cheated me from the important. The question is never is someone or something getting cheated? The question is always where and who am I cheating? Who are am I leaving behind?

Let me ask you a very sobering questions: who and where are you cheating? Who are you leaving behind? Are you cheating your spouse while chasing your career goals? Are you cheating spending time with your kids for your favorite hobby? Are you so caught up in the immediate pressures of life that you’re cheating the most important people, your family? You have to realize that you’re not expendable at home. You’re the only father or mother you’re kids will ever have. Your mate only has one spouse to receive emotional and relational support from, at least I hope so. What I’m simply saying is your family needs you. You can never make up for the lack of time you spend with your family. You can’t bring home enough money to replace your absence in the home. You can’t buy enough flowers or bass pro gift cards to heal the damage that’s caused by neglecting your marriage. You can’t buy enough toys, gadgets or cool clothes to replace your consistent presence in the life of your kids. Somebody or something is getting cheated! But don’t make it be your family!

2. I quit cheating by establishing priorities

A. The only way that we don’t cheat the important for the immediate is by establishing priorities. Without crystal clear priorities, you will get caught in the busyness of life and cheat the most important people, your family. A priority is something you put ahead of something else. A priority is something you say yes to even when it means saying no to other important things.

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