Summary: It has taken us generations of self-study to come up with 3 major "wants" in life. Yet Jesus knew it all along!
MELVIN M. NEWLAND, MINISTER
CENTRAL CHRISTIAN, BROWNSVILLE, TX
A. Psychologists tell us that there are 3 major "wants" in life. The first "want" is to want comfort - to want food when we are hungry, to want something to drink when we are thirsty, to want a cool place when we are too hot, to want shelter from the storm. We want to be comfortable.
The second "want" is to want to be accepted by our peers, to be respected for who we are & what we are.
The third "want" is to want to find meaning in life, to understand what life is all about, & that we have a part to play in it.
B. Now it has taken us generations of self-study to come up with those three brilliant conclusions. Yet Jesus knew that all along. That is exactly what He is talking about in the Sermon on the Mount.
He said, "I know that you are concerned about comfort. I know that you are concerned about what you are going to eat & what you are going to drink. Here is my advice to you, don’t worry about that."
And we say, "Sure, Lord. Easy for You to say, hard for us to do."
He says, "I know that you are also concerned about how you come across to other people, whether they accept you or not. I just want to tell you this, all of your worrying is not going to add one moment to your life. It will not make you any more beautiful or handsome or anything else. So just don’t worry about that.
We say, "Sure, Lord. Easy for You, not that easy for us."
Finally, He says, "You are concerned about life & I just want to tell you this that life is more than all of these things."
C. A lot of people have read this scripture & shook their heads & said, "The only way we can do what Jesus tells us to do here is if you built a hut on top of some mountain, a thousand miles away from civilization, & sat around with your arms folded & just thought wonderful pious thoughts all day long."
But I suggest that the opposite is true. Jesus is saying that this is the way to live life in a very busy world, where there is corruption & all kinds of pressure upon us, where we must raise our kids in the midst of an evil society, where we wrestle with finances in a very materialistic world.
He is saying, "Here is the key & the secret to living in every Century."
D. I don’t know about you, but the hardest thing I have to do is not to decide between right or wrong. While I am certainly not perfect, I can pretty well leave the harmful & questionable things alone.
The hardest thing I have to do is to try to decide which of the good things I should do, to put the emphasis in the right place, to use properly my time, my talents, & my energies. In all of the busy activities of life I have a very hard time setting my priorities & following them, of putting "first things first."
Look again at Matthew 6:33 where Jesus emphasized the importance of putting "first things first." "But seek first His kingdom & His righteousness, & all these things will be given to you as well."
In this verse there is a command: "Seek."
There is an object: "His kingdom & His righteousness."
There is a priority: His kingdom & His righteousness are to be "first."
And there is a conditional promise: If we do that, then "all these things will be given to us as well."
SUM. To sum it up, Jesus is saying, "Don’t put second things first & first things second. Put first things first & second things second." For example, let’s put "first things first" in the home.
I. LET’S PUT FIRST THINGS FIRST IN THE HOME
A. Why does the home exist? What is its purpose for being? Can it be that we have failed many times to place the emphasis where it should be placed? Have we gotten so involved in the mechanical processes of providing a house & groceries that we have forgotten why the home was established?
The home was not established simply to give a man a place where he is to be waited upon, leaving all responsibilities behind at the job. Neither was it established so that a woman might have something to do to keep her occupied.
No, the home was established to be a haven of love, to be the cornerstone of society, to provide the environment in which children are to be born & raised & trained for an eternal inheritance with God!