Being hypocritical and not doing as we ought is pretty easy to do â€“ just look around. The fruit of contrary living is everywhere. There are folks here and there that simply cannot muster up enough decency to do a thing for someone else or to be consistent from one day to the next in their personal dealings. The corporate world is slap full of them. Many people are decent to a point, scrupulous only as far as they remain in clear sight, and honest only as far as things have to do with them and their own plans. You know this sort is around. You also know that some of them profess to be Christians.
A man goes to the store and buys a guitar. It’s a real fancy guitar, extremely expensive and top of the line. What sets this man apart is that he has never played the guitar. He doesn’t know the first thing about it. He tells himself that he’ll learn after he buys the guitar. Therefore, he spends, buys the guitar, and takes it home. A few years later the man goes through his closet and finds the guitar still sitting in the closet, unused and collecting dust.
He never made it a priority to learn how to play. His family would ask him to do things for them and he would. His friends would ask him to play golf and he would. His employer would ask him to stay late and he would. His favorite TV show would be on and he would watch it. His favorite sports team would play and he would follow it. He never put aside any of those things or any number of others and he never spent any time to learn how to play that guitar. He always said he would get to it later, but he never did.
Sometimes Christians do the same thing with God, choosing to do other things, planning on doing what God has said later. Things just get in the way.
Putting God first is something that is talked about, but which is rarely understood or practiced. Christians say that God comes first in their lives, but does what we practice reveal this to be true? How often do we actually study our bibles, go to a bible study, a sing, a prayer meeting, or ANYTHING that has to do with God? Then how much time do we substitute watching TV, going to the movies, reading another book, going to a sporting event or working extra hours? We may say God comes first, but our lives may not reflect it. How often have parents allowed their kids to regularly miss worship services so that they could participate in some extracurricular activities, and then wondered why those children later grew up without any dedication to God or to godly things? Why would we wonder?
In Matthew 6: 33 Jesus said, but you must seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and then all these other things shall be added to you. The people then were concerned about the necessities: clothing, food, and daily life. Who isn’t? But they were more concerned about those things than with serving God. Jesus told them not to put those things in first place in their lives. If they would serve God, they would have the things they truly needed. Do we believe that any better now than they did then?
Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to treasure being hidden in the field, which finding, a man hid; and for the joy of it, he goes and sells all things, as many as he has, and buys that field.
Again, the kingdom of Heaven is compared to a man, a merchant seeking excellent pearls; who finding one very precious pearl, going away has sold all things, as many as he had, and bought it.
(Matthew 13: 44 – 46)
(The preceding is the edited first portion of a lesson by friend and brother Steven Poyner.)