"First Things First"
October 13, 2014
(Jesus said) "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you." Matthew 6:33
Pacific Investment Management Company (aka PIMCO) is a big company.
If you are unacquainted with PIMCO, I can share it is an American investment firm, which employs over 2,400 employees in 12 countries. One of those employees was Mohamed El-Erian.
Mr. El-Erian was once top dog at PIMCO, which means he brought in a lot of money. And if I hear you asking, "How much money did he make?" I can only tell you that in 2011 Mr. El-Erian made $100 million.
But, because of his daughter, Mr. El-Erian is no longer working for PIMCO. He explains that some time back he noticed his daughter ignored him when he asked her to fulfill simple requests. Upset, he began to talk to her about this apathetic attitude. She replied by handing him a list which contained 22 events -- events in her life which he had missed -- things like her first day of school, her first soccer game, and a Halloween parade. The list contained things which, from a global perspective were unimportant, but to a 10-year-old girl are incredibly significant.
It didn't take too long before Mr. El-Erian calmed down, stopped making excuses, and realized, "My work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, I was not making nearly enough time for her." Mr. El-Erian quit his high-paying job. Reflecting back, he says, "So far, it's been the right decision for me."
Now I'm relatively sure most of our Daily Devotion readers aren't pulling in $100 million a year. Even so, his practice of having poor priorities can apply to most of us. You remember the story of Mary and Martha, don't you? Mary wanted to listen to Jesus; Martha wanted her sister to help her in being a good hostess. Both sisters were engaged in admirable activities, but Jesus said Mary "had chosen the one thing which is necessary" (see Luke 10:42).
I wish I could say I always did the same.
A good look in the mirror will remind most of us there are times when the Lord is bumped to the back of the bus, that our pursuit of the kingdom of God can be trumped by our desire for stuff, that there are others things which cut into the line ahead of the Christ.
That shouldn't be.
Jesus gave Himself so we might be rescued from the penalty of sin. God's supreme act of kindness should never be denied, demoted or ignored. St. Paul understood that and got it right when he wrote, "Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him ..." (Philippians 3:8-9a).
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, forgive me for the times when I let other things get between us. Grant me the wisdom to have proper priorities and give me the vision to see and appreciate the greatness of the Savior's sacrifice. In His Name I ask it. Amen.
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Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries