Thursday, May 7, 2015

On my 55th birthday: Put God First

Yesterday was my 55th birthday, and I truly was touched and encouraged by all the greetings, cards, gifts and digs I received. Now I ask one more favor – hear me out very briefly. At this stage of my life, I am absolutely sure of this (and I can’t help it if it sounds trite or basic): life only works if you put God first. Human life (being human, I mean) only works if you put God – the true and living God – first. Human life – individual, a couple, a family, a congregation, a culture or society – only works (thrives, flourishes, brings real happiness and meaning) if you put God first. And by “first” I mean first.

Putting Him second might seem, to us, that we’re doing Him quite a favor, all in all, but for all practical purposes we might as well put Him fifth, fifteenth or fiftieth. First is the only proper place for God to be.

Why all this is true is a second, closely-related question – it’s just the nature of things as created, in relation to the Creator, etc. But for now, I just want to strongly affirm, admonish, remind, proclaim what some have never acknowledged (although we all know it, deep, deep down), and what some used to know, but seem to have forgotten, and what everyone needs to know: putting God first is the only way life works. (My Biblical support for this assertion is…well…the entire Bible. Corroborating evidence comes, constantly, from the daily news.)

One more thought: you can't skip this (this question of whether you put God first), and then try to go on to the rest of the equation, to hope it all comes out right. Start out wrong, here, and nothing that follows can get it right. Deepest reverence for God is where figuring out how to be human starts (Prov. 9:10).

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