Summary: God’s priority is for us to invest our lives into others, being a source of Good News
During the course of our series, "Your Bucket List," we have been looking at the things we need to do, or the things we need to prioritize in our life before we "kick the bucket." The Bible says our life here on earth is but a breath, our days are like a passing shadow (Ps. 39:5; 144:4). In other words our time is brief. People tell me the older you get the faster time goes. Because our time is so short, there are important things we intend to do but we never seem to get around to. We keep putting them off until later, but later never comes.
I remember going to a weeklong pastor licensing school while I was in Kentucky, and one of the pastors shared a story about this man in the community he kept inviting to church, but every time he asked the man to come he would respond, "oh, I’ll get around it." But he never did show up. So one day this pastor was at a store and noticed a coin with an interesting inscription on it. It said, "round to it." It was a ’round to it’ coin. So this pastor got an idea, he bought it and went to the man and said, "every time I invite you to church you say you will ’get around to it,’ so here’s a ’round to it’ coin. So now that you have gotten a ’round to it’ I expect to see you this Sunday." And the funny thing was, the man did come to worship that Sunday.
We know we tend to push things off that we know we need to do. That’s why I began this series with the New Year because we tend to be more open to making changes in our life when the calendar turns over, for some it’s like getting a fresh start. So to help the process, I have been encouraging us to create our own ’bucket list’ as a way of thinking about the things we aren’t doing but should be, or what we would like to accomplish before we leave this earth. As we close out our series today I hope you’ve at least given some thought and consideration to the areas of your life which you need to focus on for the future, especially areas like faith and your relationship with God, or like we talked about last week, your family relationships, your relationship with our spouse, our children, relations. We talked about making it a priority to strengthen our marriages and be ambassadors of reconciliation with our families. In other words God expects us to help restore broken relationships, whether that brokenness was caused by our own words or actions, or someone else’s.
We continue on the theme of relationships because God values relationships. Jesus said the two most important things you can do here on earth are to love God and love others. It is our relationships which make us or break us. It is our relationships, first with God and then with others, which we will be judged by when we meet God face to face.
The Priority of Relationships
God created us for community and relationships but we often fail to give these the same priority God does. Our human tendency is either to avoid relationships, not having very many close friendships, or we have superficial relationships, these are relationships where we don’t reveal anything about ourselves, we just know each other on a surface level. We talk about the latest weather, sports, the latest breaking news, the latest gossip, but nothing about what’s really going on inside us or in our lives. These aren’t really relationships or friendships but acquaintances. Generally speaking, this is more true of men than women. Men for some reason have a harder time developing these friendships. Other people only keep relationships that are convenient for them, or relationships where they get something out of it ("what’s in it for me").
Illustration -- Allstate commercial
A humorous example of the depth of men’s relationships is the Allstate commercial with the two guys out in the parking lot before a football game tailgating behind their car in a stadium dressed in their team’s colors. Because there have been several of these commercials over the years with these same two guys heading to the games together, you get the impression that they are pretty good friends. The commercial begins with a guy walking by them while they are tailgating before the game and says hello to one of them, calling him by name.
"Why did he call you Vince?"
"Because that’s my name."
"How did he know that?"
"He’s my Allstate agent. He insures my car, my boat."
"You have a boat?"
"Yeah my wife is an awesome water-skier?"