Summary: Making sure our priorities are in the right place

What should be our top priorities?

Deuteronomy 10:12, 13

De 10:12 ¶ And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

Matthew 19:29

And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

We may not ever think about it but all of us have priorities in life, things that are of most importance to us.

There are things that come first in our lives, first over any thing else we do or care about.

In St. Matthew the 19th chapter Jesus had an encounter with a young rich man.

He most probable had rich parents and had always lived a lifestyle of luxury and ease.

But there was something lacking in his life. He had everything money could buy, but he knew something was deficient.

He came directly to Jesus and asked him a question.

“Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?”

Or, what honorable thing, what respectable thing can I do to have eternal life?

Jesus answered “if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.”

The young man who was already moral, who kept all the commandments to the letter, said, “Which?”

“Is there one I am not aware of? What commandments are you talking about?”

Jesus said “Thou shalt do no murder, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Honour thy father and thy mother: and, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”

The rich young man, probably puzzled by Jesus’ answer replied, “All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?”

“I’ve kept those commandments! I already do those things religiously! But, what do I lack? Tell me, I know I am lacking something here!”

The answer Jesus gave wasn’t what he wanted to hear!

“If thou wilt be perfect or complete, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

Oh no Master! Don’t tell me that! Don’t require me to get rid of my possessions! Don’t tell me to give away my money!

Why can’t I just go along as I am? Why can’t I just keep the commandments and be a good man?

But Jesus knew his heart! He knew his heart and affections was in his possessions.

His possessions were his top priority! Giving to the poor was way down on his list.

Fully following the Lord Jesus was not on his priority list.

He was willing to keep some commandment, to perform some ritual, to participate in some ceremony, but to follow Jesus?

He didn’t have time to follow Jesus! He had his riches to look after. His houses, his barns, his cattle, his stocks and bonds.

He wanted to continue doing what he was doing, even though keeping the law was wonderful, he was not willing to forsake all to follow Jesus and have eternal life.

His possessions meant more to him than eternal life! Temporary possessions meant more than eternal treasures.

What will a man give in exchange for his soul?

Now Jesus doesn’t require everyone to give away all their possessions to follow Him.

He just wants first place in our lives. He wants us to make Him Lord of our lives and make serving and following him our top priority.

The things we have in this life will fade away and will be no more.

We put so much emphasis on material things. We love what money can buy. We covet the finer things of life.

Our possessions can become our little gods. Whether it is our homes, our cars, our bank account, our TV sets, our fishing boats, or other things that become priority, they can rob God of being first in our hearts and lives.

He said “Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”

Lu 16:13 No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.


Mammon. Mammon is a Syriac word, a name given to an idol worshipped as the god of riches. It has the same meaning as Plutus among the Greeks.

It is not known that the Jews ever formally worshipped this idol, but they used the word to denote wealth. The meaning is, ye cannot serve the true God, and at the same time be supremely engaged in obtaining the riches of this world. One must interfere with the other.

People will flock by the thousands to hear some preacher talk about how they can have financial success and wealth. But they won’t walk across the street to hear a preacher talk about taking up the cross and forsaking all to follow Jesus!

Secondly, I think of a man by the name of Demas. There is not said about him, but Paul said in 2Ti 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

In the midst of Paul’s extreme persecution and trial, Demas left him.

A one time fellow laborer with Paul, Demas did not want to suffer with Paul for being a Christian.

The world looked better and safer to Demas. It looked like persecution and possibly death was just around the corner if he continued serving Jesus.

To Demas, the reasonable thing to do was get out while the gettin’ was good!

After all, one couldn’t blame ole Demas for leaving while he had a chance. But the fact was, Demas loved the temporary things of this world more than he loved God.

His top priority was comfort and ease. His priority would be the world and all it has to offer.

Today we see people who are just like Demas. They started out serving God. They dedicated their lives with enthusiasm. But then trials and persecution came.

Their priorities change! They begin to look back! It seems the world is filled with glitter while they are forsaking all to follow Christ.

Soon they lose their focus! They renew their love and devotion to the world and Christ is no longer on their list!

Oh, listen, we need to set our priorities on serving Jesus in spite of the circumstances; regardless of the trials and tribulations!

Demas lost his focus! “Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world.”

Thirdly, I think of the Pharisees in Jesus’ day. They placed their priority on keeping the law.

They were arrogant and full of hypocrisy thinking they had a monopoly on the interpretation of the scriptures.

They held to old traditions requiring the Jews to keep them to the letter.

These "traditions" as they were called, had long been gradually accumulating. Of the trifling character of these regulations innumerable instances are to be found in the Mishna.

Such were their washings before they could eat bread, and the special minuteness with which the forms of this washing were prescribed;

their bathing when they returned from the market; their washing of cups, pots, brazen vessels, etc.; their fastings twice in the week.

What does all this have to do with priorities?

Their priorities were keeping the law to the letter. Keeping the traditions of their fathers and refusing to accept the Messiah that was sent unto them.

Such are many in the present time! Many practice their religion and hold up the traditions and doctrines of men.

They hold to their denominational traditions and follow religiously the creeds of man made religion.

Keeping certain traditions are more important than taking up the cross and following Jesus.

It’s easier to recite creeds and philosophy than to dedicate our selves to following in Christ’s footprints!

Listen, our doctrines are not our priority. Our church is not our priority, even though these things are of a vital importance.

Our priority is following Jesus Christ; to take up the cross and follow Him.

To go where He leads us! To live a life pleasing to Him!

Do you understand what I am trying so hard to get across to you this morning?

We can dedicate ourselves to religion and still miss the mark!

We can make religion the most important thing in our lives and not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!

Lastly, I thought about the time Jesus fed the 5000.

Oh, those people wanted to make Him king that day!

What a life?

“Hey, we don’t have to work! We can live a life of leisure!

All we have to do is follow Jesus and when we get hungry he will feed us. When we get sick he will heal us.”

They made plans that day to make Him king! But he departed out of their midst.

But the next day they went looking for Him.

They actually got into ships and went to Capernaum looking for Him.

John 6:25 said, “And when they had found him on the other side of the sea, they said unto him, Rabbi, when camest thou hither?”

Or, hey, there for a minute we lost you, when did you come over here. You left us back there!

But notice what Jesus said, “Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.”

You seek me only because I gave you something to fill your bellies!

Your priority is in the wrong place!

You seek me because of what you can get from me for your physical needs and desires.

Listen! Jesus said, “I am the bread of life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst.”

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true bread from heaven.”

I am convinced there are many in the religious circles today who are following Jesus for what they can get from Him.

Following their own selfish desires and whelms, they do not discern the Lord’s body!

This is the reason so many follow after the “name it and claim it” and prosperity preachers!

This is the reason thousands fill mega-churches is to hear some motivational speaker called a “preacher” tell them what they want to hear.

They are saying as in Isa 30:10 Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits

Can you believe this? They are in essence saying, “Even if its wrong, even if it isn’t true, speak unto us smooth things. We don’t want to hear a “negative truth” we want to hear a “positive lie.”

Thousands upon thousands fit into that category today!

“We want to hear words that make us feel good, even if it isn’t true.”

“Don’t tell us about taking up the cross, tell us about how we can feel good about ourselves.”

We are living in a selfish world, and the church is no exception.

It’s what can you do for me? How can you meet my needs?

Today, we find people in the church to have “me” problems!

It’s all about me!

Preacher, make me feel good! Speak smooth things that make me feel good about myself!

Oh, but it’s not all about us! It’s all about Jesus! It’s all about forsaking our desires and giving our all to Him!

Our priority should not be US!

Our priority should me doing what we can for Jesus Christ! Doing His will! Doing His command! Doing His work!

Oh, listen my friend, again Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

Someone once said,

"Ask great things, and little things shall be added unto you; ask heavenly things, and earthly things shall be added unto you.”

What must we do?

Let your principal care and priority be how to get to heaven, and how to promote the kingdom of God in the world; to bring your hearts into subjection to the will of God, that the kingdom of God may be within you, and how to bring others to the obedience of faith and of the will of God. And for the things of this life, it shall fare with you.

In closing, note here; Seek ye first the kingdom of God, AND HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS………….

Or, seek to have the righteousness of God within you.

Our priority is again in our text;

De 10:12 ¶ And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul,

13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

This is our top priority!