My daughter, who is a youth director for a church in North Carolina came for the weekend. Because we are both in ministry, we have the joy of discussing some of the issues in the church and analyzing the problems and then trying to come up with solutions to make things better. She said something to me that I also have witnessed, but she said in a different way that was like a dagger to my heart. She said: “Parents do not make Sunday School and church a priority for the children. Often, soccer games and other secular activities come before church – even on Sunday morning. Parents will say: ‘Soccer is really important because it may get them a scholarship into college.’” All I have been able to think about is, “But, what about their salvation? Eternity is a ‘really’ long time.
In Jeremiah 11:1-14, Jeremiah has been commanded to go to the people to try and get them to change their ways and turn towards to the Lord. God says, “Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you. So shall you be my people, and I will be your God…to give them a land flowing with milk and honey…” (Jeremiah 11:4-5). Today, this has hit me in a new way. God wanted to give his people land they could live in and flourish – however, I believe God is talking about our eternal life! This land of milk and honey is the place God is preparing for each of us! But, it doesn’t come for free – it comes with a price! It has only been made possible through Jesus Christ who was brutally crucified for us! That’s how bad God wants us to have this land of milk and honey!
Putting God first in our lives – not sports or worried about how our children will get into college – is a command from God! See Jeremiah 11:4: “Listen to my voice, and do all that I command you!” Go tell the people, Jeremiah because “They have gone after other gods to serve them” (10).
A good rule of thumb: When trying to decide whether to go to church on Sunday morning, ask yourself: “Will this affect my salvation?” If the answer is ‘yes,’ then maybe that soccer game or whatever else it is that you are putting in the way of worshipping our God is really not that important.
Let us pray…Gracious God, we do have other gods before you. Help us to identify what those gods are and how we can begin to eliminate them from our lives so that you always come first in everything that we do. We pray this in the hope to come to the land of “milk and honey” that you have promised us. Amen.