Summary: In the light of the terrorism of September 11th in New York and Washington we need to refocus our priorities.
REFOCUSING OUR PRIORITIES
INTRO.- ILL.- A boy said to his girlfriend, “Ah, look at that cow and calf rubbing noses in the pasture. That sight makes me want to do the same.” His girlfriend said, “WELL, GO AHEAD. IT’S YOUR COW.”
Brothers and sisters, what’s your focus in life? Rubbing noses with a cow? Sometimes our focus in life seems about as important as rubbing noses with a cow. At least, to God it does!
ILL.- When I was in high school my focus was two-fold: lifting weights and girls. I was interested in both, but more interested in lifting weights. My schoolwork was not a priority. My twin sister Sharon and I both graduated. She graduated at the top of our class. I graduated.
ILL.- After high school my focus changed somewhat. My focus was cars, girls, work, and beer. Weightlifting was out and beer was in. I was 18 years old and Kansas was only about 10 miles away where I could buy beer at my age. My focus was wrong.
ILL.- When I became a Christian at the age of 20 my focus changed again. I focused on Christ, the church, Bible study, prayer, my girlfriend, and my work at Safeway. My focus had improved greatly in God’s eyes.
ILL.- Nine years into marriage and my daughter Holly Lynn came into the picture and my focus changed again. I fell in love with my baby girl. Six years later Shane was born. My focus changed again. I had to focus on both my children.
I loved my children back then. They were a big focus in my life. I love them now. They are still a part of my focus. As yours are to you. But my focus is on many other people as well.
ILL.- As you know, last week I put my poor mother in a nursing home in Joplin, MO. I didn’t want to do that, but that seemed the best option available. I love my mother. My focus was on her much of the week. She still is and will be. I think about her, call her, pray for her, and express my love to her.
I got home late Wednesday night and knew that I had to get my sermon ready for Sunday. I figured that sermon would be a big part of my focus on Thursday and Friday and perhaps even Saturday. IT WAS NOT TO BE.
On Thursday, Elaine got a phone call from the doctor telling her that she had to have a heart catherization on Friday. No ifs, ands or buts about it. MY FOCUS CHANGED VERY QUICKLY. From sermon to serving. Serving my wife. And I was very happy to take her, be with her, pray for her, etc. Of course, I had company with me to keep me in line.
I thought, “The sermon will come somehow, some way.” And it did. I work well under pressure, but please, not this next week!
Last week when New York, Washington, and Pennsylvania were hit by terrorists, our country’s focus changed! AND WELL IT SHOULD HAVE!
Most went from laughter to weeping! Especially, the people in New York and Washington and the families who lost their loved ones.
James 4:9-10 “Grieve, mourn and wail. Change your laughter to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will lift you up.”
That’s the focus we witnessed last week. Not many laughing. Most weeping. Most humbled and many praying to the Lord.
ILL.- One lady wrote, “I grew up in Manhattan. The World Trade Center towers were completed the year after I was born. They have been, to me, a symbol of the safety and security of home, my hometown, for as long as I can remember.
“Now that they’re gone, demolished with a quick, insane deliberation that I still can’t fathom -- like toy blocks, knocked down in a fit of rage -- it’s as though some part of the underpinning of my life has crumbled. Now I, too, wonder where I stand.
“The day after the blast I woke up thinking, what is my life worth? What have I done of value? Does anything I’m doing have any real meaning? Or am I just slouching through adulthood, waiting for my cues, cashing my paychecks?”
Brothers and sisters, our focus in life must change and change for the better. Our focus must change for our own sake and for the Lord’s sake.
PROP.- I want to consider some areas where we need to refocus our priorities in the light of the recent tragedy.
1- Faith, not fear
2- People, not pleasure
3- Seeking, not sitting
I. FAITH, NOT FEAR
ILL.- There is a story about a monastery in Europe perched high on a cliff several hundred feet in the air. The only way to reach the monastery was in a basket which was pulled to the top by several monks. Obviously the ride up the steep cliff in that basket was terrifying.