TITLE: First Priority 1/15/15
By Richard McCaw
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by Richard McCaw
You want the brightest colored flowers from your rose garden for your loved ones. However, the real estate market is good and money is rolling in. You leave home early and return late at night so that your rose garden is no longer your first priority. â€śIâ€™ll water them later,â€ť you say always putting it off.
One morning the roses seem wilted. â€śPerhaps, some fertilizerâ€¦â€ť Too late! Even if you speak tenderly and start praising them, they will not produce lovely roses. They were not first priority; making money was!
Everyone, even religious people make personal choices. In this mixed up-world you may have heard criticisms of TV evangelists. â€śThose men rip off people!â€ť or â€śThey milk the flock,â€ť or perhaps, â€śSo-called Men of God! Extravagant life styles! Phew!â€ť The kingdom was not first priority; making money was!
Crooks are doubtless everywhere and have no defense against Godâ€™s Word.
Years ago I heard a preacher boasting of his 12 Cadillacs. Such men build schemes to enrich themselves. Many, who attend their services do not really follow Christ, but seek inspiration toward worldly success and riches.
Jesus once reminded the multitude who followed Him, â€śThey that wear soft clothing are in kingsâ€™ houses.â€ť
Some time ago the media reported that many people had trusted one such crook and been ripped off of their lifeâ€™s savings.
People trust in uncertain riches, not realizing that money seems to have wings, and quickly gained, can easily fly away. Much heartache, including sickness, broken relationships, and the collapse of investments, follows those whose priorities are the accumulation of earthly possessions. Some fall into deep despair. The burden of broken dreams drives others to take the lives of their loved ones, then kill themselves. The love of money like a god controlled their lives.
Some having strayed from God, are pierced through with many sorrows.
One day, Peter, the Apostle, remarked to Jesus, â€śSee, we have left all and followed You! Therefore, what shall we have?â€ť
What did Jesus teach about those who give up everything to preach the gospel? Luke records Jesusâ€™ response: â€śHe shall receive many times more in this present time.â€ť
The gospel of Mark also records a similar answer: â€śThere is no one,â€ť said Jesus, â€śwho has left house, or brothers, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake and the gospelâ€™s, who shall not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses, and brothers, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come, eternal life.â€ť
Are there rewards for the believer who has given up everything to share the good news with a lost world? Indeed, rich rewards are laid up in the next life! But is there anything laid up for the committed, active ministers of Godâ€™s Word down here on earth? Jesus promised 100% material things down here, plus additional relationships that would replace the rejection by families and friends, plus persecution!
Before the age of twenty-five, I cared nothing about driving a motor car, although most of my friends had cars, were married, owned their own homes, and were making a decent living! My only concern was the winning of precious souls, and the spreading of the kingdom of God.
However, at this time, the Lord led me to take driving lessons from one of my music students. Early in the mornings, at 5:00 a.m., I would hear the gentle â€śbeep, beepâ€ť of the small Morris Minor at the gate. A short, stocky young man then drove me out to Palisadoes Road. Before long, I was nervously clutching the steering wheel, surrounded by the sweet humming of the engine, as he carefully taught and supervised my practice. Not too long after, I obtained my driversâ€™ license.
Reaching that far, I inquired about money my father had left me in his will. At the record office on Tower Street, I presented my identity papers to the clerk behind the counter, who brought out the file of the will of Aston Lucien McCaw. The document read: â€śTo my son, Richard McCaw, the sum of 2,000 pounds.â€ť Then I was instructed to visit the lawyer on Duke Street, handling the will. Not long afterwards, I obtained that sum, and bought my first motor car, a light blue Ford Anglia, a miracle of provision. With that provision I could present the good news in many schools and churches for many years to come.
Some people believe strongly that men who minister the Word of God ought to take a vow of poverty and have little or none of this worldâ€™s material possessions. Somehow, they fail to understand that ministers travel like everyone else in order to reach people with Godâ€™s Word, must feed their families, and must pay mortgages to live in a house which often becomes a center for counseling precious souls and bringing them into the life of the kingdom of God. Godâ€™s true shepherds know difficulty, trials, persecution, and hardship of every kind, but poverty is not a blessing that He pours upon the genuine leaders of His church.
My creative instincts always had me writing a poem, a play, a book, a novel, or simply some new way of doing things. I envisioned myself as a writer always. At the same time, my call to train Christian leaders and musicians became clearer, and I realized that if I placed His kingdom above my personal interests, He would be my rewarder by providing for all my temporal needs.
In a vision on the island of Patmos, John heard Jesus saying with a great voice behind him, â€śMy reward is with me. I am the beginning and the end, the first and the last.â€ť Building the kingdom of God must be FIRST! Christ must be TOP PRIORITY.
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