At my class / group last night, I asked everyone to draw an empty box on their notes. Then I had them write the three things in their box that meant the most to them.
If you were to write the three things in your life that mean the most to you, what would you put their?
Family? Money? Some sort of achievement? A certain vacation? A sport, hobby or thrill?
Once they listed their three items, I asked them to eliminate one of them. “I can’t!” someone said.
Ruthlessly, I asked them to eliminate a second item. Now there was only had one thing in their box.
I didn’t feel bad about this, because really, all of us only have one thing that’s the most important to us in the world anyway. Jesus said, “No one can serve two masters.” Boil it all down, and we all can have only one true master, only one thing in our box.
So, what’s in your box?
What’s the most important thing in the world to you?
What’s the thing you would trade everything else for, if you had to?
Jesus once told a parable about a pearl of great price. It’s his shortest parable: He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a merchant looking for fine pearls. When he found one of great value, he went away and sold everything he had and bought it.”
What would you sell everything you have in order to attain? What would be worth the investment of your one and only life?
In the Book of Philippians, the Apostle Paul is in prison. Night and day, he’s chained to a guard, under house arrest. Yet the book of Philippians is the most joy-filled book in the Bible.
How can a man in prison be joyful?
The only way is to have something in his box that can be fulfilled, even from prison.
Paul says the reason he is happy is that the cause of Christ is being advanced by his imprisonment. The palace guards he was chained to were also chained to him. And day after day, shift after shift, he was leading them to Christ. As a result, members of Caesar’s household were coming to Christ. These guards would eventually take their faith to every place occupied by the Roman legions.
Paul’s happiness, and the fulfillment of his life’s purpose, was not hindered in the least by physical confinement. He explains why in Philippians 1:21 – For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
What do you think Paul had in his box?
I would love to hear Paul preach on the first of our DNA statements: We are a Jesus-first church. We give up things we love for the One we love even more.
Paul gave up his freedom, gladly.
What are you happy about today, because of the work Jesus is doing as a result of you putting him first in your life?