Several weeks back my seven-year-old son left church with a small bag of sidewalk chalk. The morning Sunday school discussion had been about being “thankful”. The chalk was to take home and write the things in life he was thankful for.
Once home he went right to work in the driveway. I sat on the porch and watched. Except for assisting with the spelling of a few words when he asked for clarity I said nothing.
He wrote and wrote then finally announced he was done. I walked over for a look. It was a long list for a little guy but it fit into three categories, specifically……
God, People & Stuff.
Interestingly, he had started with “God”.
Then there were names. “People” ……. Mama, Daddy, Brothers, Grandparents, Uncles, Aunts, Cousins, Friends and even his Teachers.
Lastly, there were things. “Stuff” ……. Trains, Cars, Trucks, Toys, His Home, The River, His Bike, His School.
What struck me most was not the length of his list but the order of his list. God…. People…. Stuff.
My seven-year-old had it right. It took me 46 years of living and several hard landings to get my list back in that order. But with God’s help, I did.
Somewhere along the way I had allowed the world to convince me that it could fulfill me and had more to offer than God did. It did not. It does not.
I’ll spare you the details of my personal journey but trust me on this one……..
- Stuff – Can make you happy and certainly bring a level of fulfillment to your life. On the flip side, it also has the capacity to change you, lie to you, own you and steal from you if given too much importance.
- People – Can do much more than just make you happy. Unlike “stuff”, people can actually bring you joy. They can add meaning and purpose to your life. Best of all they can even love you back!
- God – Will love you no matter what. Unlike “stuff” and “people” God will never wear out, require maintenance, lie to us or steal from us. On top of that God can can actually change who you are and re-order your life! That is, if you let Him.
The road back for me took a while but the path and process was not that complicated. I sought God and His plan for my life (Jeremiah 29:11-14). I identified my gifts / talents and then put them to work for others, through Christ, just like God told me to do. (1 Peter 4:10).
Once I finally elevated “God” and “People” to the top of my priority list “Stuff” quickly diminished in importance. Additionally, it was exposed for the fraud, thief, and jailer that it could be when it was given way too much importance in my life. (1 John 2:17)
It is a very freeing experience and I highly recommend it. Try this simple formula…..
Serve God & Love People. Repeat Daily.
Get in the boat. Do your part.
Shane / #16
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