"It Can't Get Any Worse"
August 23, 2012
But the Lord answered her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her. Luke 10:41-42
"That's terrible, surely the story can't get any worse."
That's what I felt when I read the story of five men who are on trial in central China. The charge against them is: "trading in illegal human organs." Do you want to say it with me? "That's terrible, surely the story can't get any worse."
But it DOES get worse. One of the men, the ringleader of the group, put the whole operation together because he had to raise money to pay off a gambling debt. One more time… "That's terrible, surely the story can't get any worse."
It gets worse. The donor of the organ, which was a kidney, was paid for his trouble. Do you know why he needed money so desperately? Simple: he needed to raise money so he could buy himself an iPad and an iPhone.
And, yes, it gets worse. The surgery was botched and the student suffered renal failure. As a result, he is too sick to attend the court proceedings.
So that's the story. It is, from start to finish, a story of mixed up, messed up priorities. Paying off a gambling debt is more important than doing the right thing. Getting the latest technology is more important than the gift of health.
Almost from the very beginning, the story of humanity has been the story of mistaken priorities. In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve were offered a choice: listen to God or disobey their Maker and eat from the forbidden tree. To make a long story short, they saw the tree's fruit looked tasty and Satan seemed to be making sense, so they ate. Before they had swallowed that first bite, mistaken priorities had become part of our world.
All of us, like Adam and Eve, like Martha in our text above, have been guilty of having mistaken, messed up priorities. Did you have a drink or two and then drove home because you "could handle it"? That was a mistaken priority. Rushing after the "almighty dollar" at the expense of ignoring your family. That's a mistaken priority.
Look at your friends and family members. Can you recall the time their priorities were messed up and they did something foolish, dangerous, or sinful? I hope you can do that for them, because I'm sure they can bring to memory the time YOUR priorities were out of whack.
Thankfully, because of our crucified and risen Lord, for Christians there is forgiveness for mistaken priorities. The Redeemer not only forgives our transgressions, He sends the Holy Spirit upon us so that we may learn from the past and become wiser and more spiritually mature.
Which is the kind of thing which ought to be high on our list of right priorities.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive us for worrying about many things and forgetting the one thing which is needful. Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ Who saves us from our ins. In the future help us to have right priorities. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries