(slow piano music)
- Getting things in the right order is pretty important
if we are to make sense of them.
Imagine if you're going to read J.R.R. Tolkien's
classic, The Hobbit, but instead of reading the pages
in their chronological order,
you read the book just sorta randomly,
selecting pages as you will.
And you start by reading page 97, then 115,
followed by eight.
You turn the page a couple times and then you read page 14,
then 255, then 79, and then 154.
Now, if you continue reading this way,
jumping back and forth between the pages,
not only will you miss the meaning of the story,
your experience, well it'll be terribly frustrating,
anything but enjoyable.
Because it doesn't make sense.
Everything will be all mixed up.
It'll be all chaotic.
But if you read The Hobbit the way it was meant to be read,
in chronological order one page after the other,
what unfolds is the most beloved work
of classical fantasy of the 20th century.
You have Bilbo Baggins, The Hobbit, whose nice,
quite comfortable, unambitious life is abruptly disrupted
when the wizard, Gandalf, and a company of 13 dwarves
arrive on his doorstep wanting to whisk him away
on an unexpected journey.
They have a plot to raid the treasure of a very large
and very dangerous dragon.
You know, it was the first book I ever read,
and I would still enjoy reading it today.
You see, it's important to have things in order
if they are to make sense.
And so it is with life.
When we don't place our priorities in their proper place,
life starts to lose its meaning,
life is no longer enjoyable to live.
Everything seems chaotic and meaningless.
But when our life is in God's order,
life is a joyous adventure.
So what is the proper order of things?
Jesus said, "but strive first for the kingdom of God
"and His righteousness and all these things
"will be given to you as well."
So, what's the first thing?
What's the second thing?
And it's important not to get the two confused.
Because when God becomes a second thing,
and other priorities become the first thing,
we lose God, then our meaning,
and then we lose our joy.
And our God-given story, why we are created,
the eternal adventure gets lost in meaningless living
and days turn into months, months to years,
years to a life.
And there we find ourselves a spoiled life about to die
though we never really lived.
But when Jesus takes first place in our hearts,
he authors a story with our life that is meaningful,
that is life-giving to others,
that reflects his goodness, truth, and beauty.
This story that God authors with our life
will be celebrated for all eternity.
Mother Teresa said,
"I am a little pencil in the hand of a writing God,
"who is sending a love letter to the world."
My friends, may your life be a beautiful story
by placing Jesus as the first thing in your life.
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