Summary: These are three powerful words, especially for young men and young ladies who have given their hearts and lives to the Lord and have said, “Here am I, Lord, use me.” Priorities, you have got to have priorities in your life. In proper order. Principles.
Dr. Falwell, speaker to Liberty University student body, faculty and staff
Convocation in Vines Center – January 25, 2006
A little earlier before we came on the platform this morning, I asked Dr. Elmer Towns, who is seated here, “Elmer, when we co-founded Liberty University® thirty-five years ago, did you ever envision this?” He said, “No way!” God has done exceedingly and abundantly above all we can ask or think. And then as Meredith was singing, I asked Dr. Towns how many Liberty graduates are now pastors somewhere out there? He is the Dean of the School of Religion and he is writing a book right now on the 100 Largest Liberty Churches, that is churches pastored by Liberty graduates. He said the number is somewhere around 10,000. I thought of what Dr. Terry Faulkenbury just did a moment ago on behalf of the church he pastors, West Cabburs Baptist Church in Concord, NC, endowing a Chair of Church Planting for Dr. Ergun Caner and the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary with $1 million, and I thought to myself: ten thousand pastors times $1 million is $10 billion. That would greatly endow the entire University. And I say that realizing we’re on live television and hoping that all 10,000 are listening. Thank you, Dr. Faulkenbury. God bless, you good friend.
Priorities, Principles, and Purpose:
These are three powerful words, especially for young men and young ladies who have given their hearts and lives to the Lord and have said, “Here am I, Lord, use me.” Priorities, you have got to have priorities in your life. In proper order. Principles. Your life must be built upon principles and purpose, you must have a vision of what it is God wants to do through you.
First priorities, Matthew 6:33 in the Sermon on the Mount: Jesus said, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” Seek ye first that is the first priority, the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
The next word is principles, Proverbs 14:34: “Righteousness exalteth a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (KJV).” A paraphrase of that same verse says it this way, “Living by God’s principles promotes a nation to greatness, violating those principles brings a nation to shame.” You can easily reduce that to the personal level, if in fact living by God’s principles promotes a nation to greatness, it is fair to say that living by God’s principles promotes a person, an individual to greatness.
And then the word purpose. Jeremiah 29:11: “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”
On Monday of this week, President Bush spoke to 9,000 persons in Manhattan, KS, in the field house of Kansas State University. He was there addressing the Iraqi war and other issues like the Patriot Act and the necessity of being able to eavesdrop on al-Qaeda terrorists as they telephone Americans inside the U.S. (something I greatly support) and after he had brought his message there was a question and answer period. Someone asked the question, “Mr. President, how can you sustain yourself in the midst of all the vitriolic assaults that come your way everyday as the President of the United States?” His answer was simple and profound, “Three words, Faith, Family, and Friends.” And how true that is for you and me. Faith, family, and friends, that is how we are all sustained.
When asked by young people often to tell them how to establish good priorities in life I make it very simple; it is God, it is family, and our work/ ministry in that order. Our relationship to God, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God.” Our relationship to family, my first obligation is to my wife who last night spent the evening all night sitting with her 73-year-old sister who is critically ill. For 48 years my wife (under God), my number two priority in life. And then our children and their spouses and our grandchildren. And then my work, for me it happens to be as a pastor and a Christian educator, my ministry. But always in that order.
Why am I saying what I am saying? I want you to start this New Year aware that you lose in life a great deal more times than you win; you spend far more days in the valley than you do on the mountain top. So, you have got to learn while a creature of crisis to be a creature of dependence also. Whether you know it or not you are totally dependant for your very existence, for your life, your very existence, your one heartbeat, from eternity. The prosperity theology preachers are all very wrong. God has not promised us health and wealth. God instead has promised His sufficiency as we go on through life amidst pain and sorrow and death. Job 14:1: “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.” Get that young people because the fact that you are having a tough time right now is not unique to you.