A Question of Priority (10-03-21)
Bible Reading: Matthew 4:1-2, 8-11 and 6:31-33
Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.
Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour. "All this I will give you," he said, "if you will bow down and worship me." Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'" Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.
Do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
A man takes a large empty jar, and fills it with a number of large stones. The jar seems full.
He then takes some gravel and puts it into the jar, the gravel fills in the spaces between the big rocks. Again the jar seems full.
He then takes some sand and puts that into the jar, and it fills the spaces between the gravel. Again the jar seems full.
Finally he takes a cup of coffee and pours it into the jar. The coffee percolates the space between the rocks, gravel, and sand. Now the jar is full.
This illustration, in different forms, is used to teach about time management; about getting the priorities in place first. If you start with the sand and gravel you will never get all the larger stones in the jar, but if you get your priorities right there is always time for a cup of coffee with a friend.
It also works as an illustration about the place of our relationship with God and with all the other aspects of our lives.
This third temptation of Jesus in the wilderness is about our priorities in life, and about who, or what, we actually worship.
Ever since mankind rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, the devil has been known as the Prince of This World. The coming of Jesus represents a direct challenge from the Kingdom of Light to the Kingdom of Darkness. The devil’s offer to Jesus makes sense in this context, as he tries to head off the challenge.
Jesus defeated the Kingdom of Darkness on the cross, and as his Kingdom of Light is established, we have the choice in our lives as to who we serve and thus who we worship.
There are many demands on our lives and many temptations to overcome, but in the end it all comes down to a question of priorities. Jesus is the Cornerstone; get this in place first and everything else will fall into place around it. Leave it until later and there will never be room for it.
Help me, Lord Jesus, to keep you on the throne of my life in the knowledge that when you are indeed Lord, everything else will fall into place.
I will worship with all of my heart