Two Things I Will Never Forget from Dad’s Preaching
How important are priorities?
You may have heard me say it before, but I was not always keen on being a preacher's daughter. Today, I can honestly say I am grateful for the legacy of faith.
Sitting in church on a regular basis, I heard Dad preach a lot. As the daughter of a traveling minister, I was in church nearly every night of my childhood. I realize the amount of church attendance I experienced growing up may seem over-the-top for most people, but it was normal to me.
We usually knew what story he was going to tell before he began. As Dad preached, he would share stories of his journey to salvation, humorous family happenings, and testimonies of the many people he had ministered to over the years.
Dad was a fantastic communicator and possessed the ability to make the Word of God come alive. While I cannot remember most of his sermons, there are two things I will never forget from Dad's preaching.
#1—There is no such thing as luck.
Dad mentioned this often, both in his preaching and at home. As children, we were not allowed to say, “You just got lucky!” To this day, when I hear someone use the word luck, I think of Dad.
If we believe in God as Maker and Creator, then we must believe nothing happens by chance. From the Christian perspective, life is not a game of luck (or no luck).
Every good thing given and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shifting shadow. James 1.17 NASB
If you believe God is Sovereign over all things, you must know nothing takes Him by surprise. He knit you together in your mother's womb, and He has you in His sight (Psalm 139.13).
You can depend on His favor, blessing, intervention, protection, and keeping power. With these benefits, who needs luck?
#2—Live by these priorities.
Dad would share his priorities for living everywhere he preached. He was passionate about this because, by his own admission, he had allowed his priorities to drift out-of-order.
When I was about nine years old, Dad had a major health scare. He very nearly died when his diseased appendix ruptured. It became a life-and-death-altering event. As Dad lay in the hospital bed, he told God, “If you will let me live, I promise to make some changes.”
From that day forward, Dad began to live by reordered priorities.
Personal relationship with God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Matthew 6.33 ESV
Today, I am extremely grateful for Dad's faith, and his commitment to this list. My life was marked by both.
Over the years—when I felt life had gone off kilter, or when under stress, over-worked, or disconnected—I would remember these priorities for living: 1) Relationship with God, 2) Family, 3) Ministry, 4) All else.
Each time, the reminder served as a wake-up call to re-evaluate, relinquish, or re-align my priorities. A time or two, I have said no to, or resigned from, a ministry commitment—with no regrets. Thanks to Dad's model, I learned my relationship with God, then family, always comes before ministry.
If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever. 1 Timothy 5.8 ESV
Ministry and service are important, but we first have a responsibility to care for our household, teach our children, and love our spouse.
And then, there’s the ‘all else.’ What does it cover? Everything that does not fall into, 1) Relationship with God, 2) Family, or 3) Ministry. So, you fill in the blank. Work. Entertainment. Shopping. Social Media. ALL ELSE.
Are you counting on luck to get you through?
Remember, there is no such thing. This really is a major point of the Christian faith. Expect the favor and blessing of God to mark your life, instead of luck. Every good thing comes from Him, not from the luck of the draw.
Need a priority check-up?
There is no better time than the present to re-evaluate, relinquish, or re-align your priorities.
Our faith in God grants us the grace to begin again. What that means for you, I cannot say, but you can take your circumstances to God, asking Him to help you set things in the proper order. As we consider the need to re-align our priorities, may God be glorified in all we do and say.