Crossroads Fellowship

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

First Things First!

This past Sunday evening at Crossroads Fellowship we learned about putting the first things first. If you sit down with any person you can very quickly come up with a list of the things that are first, or most important, in their life. For some the first thing to take care of is our kids. For others our spouses are first, and for yet others our jobs come first. But is this the way that it should be, or should something else be first in our lives? Jesus said this, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." (Matthew 6:33) What does it mean to seek first the Kingdom of God, and what does he mean by the rest of these things being added to us?

By seeking the Kingdom of God first we must come to understand that God is telling us that he will never be second to anything. We see these words to seek Him and His Kingdom first, and we see the promise of a blessing if we do, but is the opposite true as well. If we do not seek him first should we expect that nothing be added unto us? I think the answer is yes, the opposite is true! God has said in Chapter 6 of Matthew that we are not to be anxious about our life, we should not worry about things, or stuff, but rather we should seek Him first and then he will take care of all the rest of that stuff. It is a clear promise that if we put him first he will put us at the top of His list of priorities, however if we serve him half heartedly then why should we expect him to treat us any different. Experience tells us that those who seek after God are the most joyous, fulfilled, and sustained people of all, and those who seek other things are left empty and hurting. Many people have said to me in the past, "Pastor - I don't know why but it just feels like God has abandoned me." However as we looked at their life we saw a consistent pattern where they had actually abandoned God.

So how are we as born again children of God supposed to put him first? Well let's look into this shall we. I want to ask a question for everyone reading this, both those at Crossroads and those around the country. Where do you attend church at? Do you attend your church services regularly enough that your Pastor and elders can count on you to be there and entrust you with ministries that take place during the service such as teaching children's church, or ushering, etc? Or do you attend just enough that people know your name and that is about it? If you are not at church enough, i.e. every Sunday morning at a minimum, that you can be entrusted with ministry in the church are you really putting God first in this area? To put it another way - don't you expect that every time you do show up your Pastor is going to be there? You expect that he will be there because you assume that God is important to him and that worship of God will come first for him, so why not expect this same thing from yourself and begin to put God first in this area?

Do you give God your tithes? And when I say tithes I mean the first 10% of your gross income. The word tithe means tenth, and a tenth is 10%. Many people say that they can not afford to tithe, or that tithing was Old Testament, yet the New Testament says that Jesus, who is God, is the same yesterday, today, and forever! (Hebrews 13:8) And the New Testament says that Jesus receives our tithes in heaven! (Hebrews 7:8) You see when we hold back our tithe from God the Bible says that we are robbing God, and that because of it we are cursed. (Malachi 3) Why are we cursed, how could God do that? Well first not tithing says I don't trust God, it says that I am worried about what I will eat and how my bills will get paid more than I am concerned with believing God when he says he will "add all these things unto me." So we are cursed because we are not living in faith and walking in faith and without faith it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:16) Secondly can a person be blessed? Of course God can bless someone, and what is the opposite of blessed, and don't say NOT BLESSED, say what it is really called - cursed! So if you are NOT BLESSED aren't you cursed? So its not a matter of being able to afford to do it, it is more a matter of you can't afford not to!

Do you give God your time everyday, preferably first thing in the morning, to read and study His Word, and to pray? You see when we wake up in the morning and we get out our Bibles and then get on our knees we are telling God that we need him! And God loves it when we admit we need him! (Mark 2:17) He came for people who need him not the people who don't. For most people in the world the answer to these questions about putting God first are all to often no. However we want God to bless us. God said in the scriptures though that we had to seek Him first, THEN he would add unto us all these other things. We can not sit back and wait for God to bless and then say we will put Him first, we have to put Him first then He will bless us. The scriptures are clear, I believe that the Holy Spirit is speaking to my heart about this as well as yours, the question is this - How will you respond to God?