Quick! What is the most important thing in your life today? Don’t think about it. Just answer with the first thing that pops into your head. Is it family? Friends? Job? Education? Volunteer position? Church? If you are like most people in the world today, your answer would have been one of the above. And let me say right here at the beginning of this post, every one of these things is good. It is important that we treasure these things because as Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
But for those of you who know me, who have sat under my preaching and teaching over the years, you probably know what I am about to say: these things are good, but they are not the best. They are not the most important. As Christians, the one thing that must be most important in our lives is our relationship with our Heavenly Father. Jesus made it clear when He made statements like, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness….” Or when He told us that the greatest commandment is to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, with all your strength, and with all your soul.” And I think that one of the reasons that the church has lost so much of its impact in our culture today – the reason that we are not the salt and the light that Jesus called us to be – is that we have allowed other things to take priority in our lives over our relationship with Jesus.
Now before you say, “Unfair. If I had known where you were headed with this, my answer would have been different,” let me remind you that our first answer, our first impulse to answer, most often is the one that we feel the most. And I will tell you that at different times in your life, the answer will probably be different. That is why it is imperative that we think about our priorities on a daily basis until it becomes second nature. The experts say that it takes on average about 66 days to form a habit. For some, it happens in as few as 18 days. For others it takes about 254 days. What this means is that you just have to keep thinking about doing something over and over until it becomes natural for you. So every morning, when you get up, think about your priorities. Say a little prayer committing your day and your life to the Father, and ask Him to help you love Him with all of your being.
But there is one more step that I would like to ask you to take with me. It is one thing as an individual Christian to make such a commitment, and it is a commitment that we must make. However, it is another thing to make that commitment as a church, the body of believers called out of this world, transformed by the grace of a loving Father through the shed blood of His Son so that He might send us back into the world as change agents. The Great Commandment to love God and the Great Commission to go into all the world is given to us as individuals as well as to the body of Christ as a group. And the reason for that is we can do so much more together than we can separately.
So, for the next several days, I want to remind you of what we have chosen as members of Southside Baptist Church as our priorities – what we have been called to do together. We call this our Mission/Vision Statement, and our desire is that it will become the guiding principles to all that we do. So here it is:
Our mission is simple: Changing the world through Jesus Christ. Our vision is powerful: Seeking God through Worship; Sharing Grace through Evangelism and Missions; Shaping Lives through Discipleship; and Serving Together through Ministry and Fellowship.
Check back regularly over the next week or so as we dive into what each part of this statement means to us as Christians and as a church.