"First of All"

“Therefore I beseech first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1)
“I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).
Last week I called Brenda, my wife, from Bangladesh. We have long since decided to limit calls to only a few per trip, but to make each call satisfyingly long. Our telephone system in Bangladesh limits calls to a maximum of thirty minutes, but it is not uncommon for service to be interrupted and for callers to be cut off unexpectedly. Since we do not usually keep exact time, we are never quite sure just how much time we will have to talk, or when the call will end. If we have not completed necessary business, of course, we can always call again, but if the call has lasted for several minutes we usually do not.
On this most recent call, after a few minutes Brenda mentioned that we might get cut off soon so she had certain “important” things to say, such as how much she missed me, etc. This simple, everyday expedient caused us to relate the same principle to spiritual things and realize how often we fail to practice spiritually what we do automatically in much less important arenas. That is simply to make sure that we do the most important things first, while we know we have the opportunity. The other, expendable matters can wait until later, and if they don?t get done at all there is little or no real loss. On the other hand, if we do them first and fail to “get to” the essentials there is great, irredeemable loss.
The Bible acknowledges certain essential priorities. These include communication with God (1 Tim. 1:1), “justice, mercy, and faith” (Matthew 23:23), love of God and man (Matthew 22:37-39), “working the works of God” (John 9:4) and obedience to the Gospel of Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8). These we must do, or fail to enter the eternal Kingdom of God. Life is uncertain. We do not know how long we will be on this earth. Procrastination is tempting, but may cause loss of our souls eternally. We can continue to apply this principle to good works such as helping others, preaching the Gospel and all other types of service to God. These are so much more important than the self-serving material things we tend to spend all our time on, reasoning that eternal things can be taken care of later. There may not be a later. We may be cut off at any time. Let us do and say the important things now, while there is time.

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