What are your priorities?
Recently a few of us from St Matt’s attended a fabulous leadership conference in London and were privileged to stay in a small town-house in Kensington. I always forget how relentlessly busy and vibrant London is, but what most immediately struck me on this visit, was the variety and quantity of exotic ‘supercars’ all around – it felt like a photo-shoot for Top Trumps. Now I’ve always loved cars, but never before have I seen such a collection of stunning Ferraris, Porsches and Lamborghinis… Suddenly I was 10 again, dreaming of what supercar I would choose if money was no object and whether a Lamborghini would in fact be too wide to park outside St Thomas. Perhaps for most normal people, the thought of a loud, impractical and ludicrously expensive car doesn’t register high on a priority list, but all of us have had other wistful daydreams, especially as children: to be a film star or rock star, or a successful sports professional. Maybe later in life the dream is to get the perfect job, the perfect house or the perfect spouse…
In Matthew 6:33, referring to our human focus and priorities, Jesus urged his followers to: “Seek first God’s kingdom and his righteousness.” He knew what he was talking about. It’s apparent from the gospels that, perhaps more than anything else he did, Jesus found time to be alone, praying to His Father and reading the scriptures. His focus then was less about doing or achieving and more about building intimacy with and dependency on His Father – it was about “being” rather than “getting”. The effectiveness of this however is plain to see through the spread of God’s kingdom through Jesus’ words, healings, acts and compassion. How much more effective and enriching could our lives be for God, and therefore how much more inspiring to ourselves and others, if we were to prioritise seeking God’s kingdom above all else?
Our dreams and longings perhaps change and evolve as we grow older and, hopefully, wiser. Priorities change as we share our lives with loved ones and maybe experience the joy and challenge of having children or grandchildren. Instead of what we can get, often we think more about what we can give, what legacy will we leave behind us? Richard Branson, when asked about how his success as a businessman might be measured in the future, his response was this: “to know if I’ve really been successful, don’t look at me or my business ventures, look at my children.”
As our Heavenly Father looks at the church today, His longing is to see a resilient, confident and loving hope-filled body of believers – children who have understood the gift of life and freedom they have been bequeathed, children who dream of seeing this kingdom inheritance grow and made known to all. Ronald Reagan, quoting Rev Henry Ward Beecher said: “There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings.”
May you be truly rooted in the love of God, but always as your Creator and Father intended for you; never afraid to dream, to fly and soar for His glory.
Priest in Charge Loves church pioneering, family, guitars, Macs, jeeps and Jesus, not necessarily in that order...