First Thing First

Michael Beck

“Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” (3 John 2)

God is not opposed to blessing His people abundantly. Jesus said: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10) The issue is always about our priority. What are we seeking first? Is it God’s kingdom and His righteousness? How caught up are we in His agenda, or does our life revolve around reaching our goals?

Nowadays, realizing one’s potential and achieving one’s dreams has become an idolatrous pursuit. Should God’s people be encouraging worldly ambition? Should our message to the world be one of, “I am fulfilling my dreams, and you can fulfill yours too!” Or should we be calling those that don’t know God to abandon their self-determined course and no longer live for themselves and their own pleasure?

Let’s not put the cart before the horse. If we are to truly minister to the lost, whose covetousness has caused them to go astray, we cannot be equally covetousness. If the blind lead the blind, they both fall into a ditch. Accomplishment brings us (at least temporarily) a sense of well-being. But Solomon, who was extremely successful at meeting his goals, ended up crying out, “Vanity of vanity!” In the end, he realized the most important goal in life was to fear God and keep His commandments.

We may gain the whole world, but if we have lost our soul in the process, what will it have profited us? God has given us all things richly to enjoy. He is not some cosmic killjoy. But He knows that He Himself is the fountain of life. He knows our true purpose is to know and enjoy Him forever.

Give up your small ambitions. Pursue God. Focus less on your destination, and more on what He wants of you. His thoughts and His ways are higher than ours. Let knowing Him in all His fullness be the chief end of your life. The rest is just icing on the cake.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.