Summary: Most folks have areas in their lives that they ignore. In this sermon, Jesus calls us to put first things first.

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This morning I would like to tell you a story. It begins as does many stories with a very familiar phrase. Once upon a time on a fine spring day, a young mother sat through a very boring contract negotiation, while her son sat through a boring math lesson, and a bored baby elephant patiently allowed little children to stroke and caress her at a local petting zoo.

As the day lengthen the baby elephant broke loose from her restraints and escaped. Meanwhile, our young mother, Pat, broke free from her office and drove home from a long, hard, day at work. On this particular day she’d negotiated an important contract with a very important client. Indeed it had been a long day, longer than most for she was NOW three hours later than usual leaving the office. She was looking forward to getting home.

Earlier, when John, her seven year old son, broke free from school, he arrived home to find that his sitter was not there. Being very resourceful he found the spare key under the green porcelain frog in the front yard and let himself in the house. Like many seven year OLDS, or at least some seven year OLDS, John immediately began playing. Within half an hour the entire house was a mess.

Meanwhile, the baby elephant managed to elude capture and found herself in the back yard of our family where she sought refuge. She was no longer bored. She was simply hungry. At some point John happened to look into the back yard and see the elephant quietly eating the young tender leaves that arrive each spring on the dogwood trees in their back yard. I don’t know about you all but I would be quite excited to see a baby elephant in my back yard.

John certainly was excited. Being a very creative child, he went to the pantry to find some food that an elephant might like to eat. Scratching his head he looked at the various foods and decided to use crunchy Peter Pan Peanut Butter as bait.

Going to the double doors and throwing them wide open he approached the baby elephant. Getting within ten feet, he slowly began to drop spoonfuls of crunchy peanut butter on the ground in front of the elephant. The very hungry elephant would have eaten just about anything offered to her so eating peanut butter was O.K. by her.

John slowly walked back towards the house dropping the food as he went, trying to lure the baby elephant inside the house. As he dropped the last bits of peanut butter, the elephant entered the house. John quickly closed the doors. Next he began feeding vegetables to his new friend.

She ate very slowly, this baby elephant and she ate for quite a long time. It seemed to John that Christmas would arrive before the elephant was full, but at length she had enough to eat and found a spot to rest in the living room. As she lay down on the blue carpet, crushing a coffee table that Pat’s mother had given her, John momentarily thought that maybe this was not such a good idea. However, that thought left as his excitement grew.

Christmas morning has never been this exciting. As John’s mind raced he considered the wonderful possibilities of having an elephant as a pet. He could have his own circus, he thought.

At this point in our story Pat, his mother, turned off the highway on to the road that led to her home. Her only plans for the evening were to feed and bath John, put him to bed, and take a long hot soothing bubble bath.

As she pulled into the driveway she was alarmed because she did not see the baby﷓sitter’s car. As John heard his mother slam the car door he suddenly remembered that his mother had told him to never mess up the house. Recalling her instructions, he quickly ran outside, threw himself into his mother’s arms and pleaded with her, "please don’t get mad at me because the house is messy."

Pat was not in the mood to deal with a messy house, even so she tried to remain calm. However, entering the house, she realized that something else was more important than the mess. She knelt down to be on John’s level and said to him. "John, I really don’t care about the messy house. But please explain to me why there is an elephant in my living room?"

"Why is there an elephant in my living room?" This is probably not a question that we have ever asked. It is a rather unusual question. However It is similar to the RESPONSE Of Jesus TO THE QUESTION ASKED THIS MORNING.

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