YOU ARE HERE: IVPress HomeCollectionsGod

Preacher's Pulpit, May 31, 2002

June 03, 2002|By Basil Bell

(Special to this newspaper)

A group of friends went fishing and paired off at opposite sides of the lake. That evening one of the fishermen came back alone staggering with a big catch of fish.

"Where's Jimmy?" he was asked.

"Jimmy had a stroke of some kind. He's still on the other side of the lake."

His friends couldn't believe it and exclaimed, "You left Jimmy lying there, and carried the fish back?"

"Well," said the fisherman, "I figured no one was going to steal Jimmy."

Priorities! They have to do with the choices we make with our life. They have to do with what is truly important to us.

Many realize that there is something wrong with the pace of their lives. Pressures, demands, expectations and tasks push in from all sides and demand immediate attention. Do this! Do that! Be there! Finish that! Call them! All of life screams out for our participation. The screams come from family, friends, the job, the school, the church, the club. Soon there is little left to give as we run out of energy and time.


We find ourselves under the tyranny of the immediate and the urgent, and the important often gets squeezed out.

Our problem is not the volume of demands or lack of scheduling, but values. Jesus said, "Blessed are the pure in heart. Blessed are the peacemakers. Blessed are the merciful." The word blessed in this text also can be translated happy. Jesus is teaching that in order to be happy the most important thing is not what we do or what we have, but who we are. Who I am influences all else.

My values and priorities indicate who I am, and they are reflected by how I use my resources; my time, money, strength and talent. I am what I am because I have been doing what I have been doing.

Often our actions belie our words. We say that God is No. 1, but then we relegate Him to a lesser number on our "to do" list.

The first of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." Either God matters tremendously or He doesn't matter at all.

He is either God of all or He is not God at all.

God is the great circumstance around which all other circumstances must revolve.

When we play fast and loose with our priorities then we are the ones who suffer.

To make God a reality in our lives, we must give God a chance. We need to spend time alone with Him in prayer, meditation and the study of His Holy Word, the Bible.

The biblical hierarchy of values places God first, others second and things last. The Ten Commandments begins with God, then it teaches us our responsibility to others and then lastly it says that we should not covet any thing. Things are last. We live frantic and frazzled lives because we have reversed the divine order.

So who am I? I am a child of the King. I am an heir of the kingdom. I am forgiven. I am a smile to the lonely, a hand up to the needy and a friend to the friendless. What a wonderful thing to be!

Basil Bell is the pastor of the El Centro and Brawley Seventh-day Adventist churches.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles