The Agenda That Really Matters
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I saw my friend Rich at a busy committee session. We had a lot to do and there were some very important choices to make. In fact, we didn't even get through everything we needed to! But Rich, well, he didn't forget what really mattered. He announced out of the blue, "Hey everybody! I brought baby pictures!" Oh, yes, you could guess! He's the father of a newborn son. So, forget everything else, man! Who cares about all this business stuff we've got to do? He wanted to share his greatest joy with us - his child. You know what? That man had his priorities straight.
Now, our word for today from the Word of God comes from the book of 3rd John. The funny thing about 3rd John is you don't ever have to give the chapter; you just give the verse because there's like only one chapter. So we're reading from 3rd John, verse 4. Here's John's priority agenda: "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth."
You know, in a sense, John is saying, "Hey, you want to see the picture of my children? That's what I'm proud of. That's what really matters to me. Look at my children." You know, we live in a world that just jumbles our priorities. Our life fills up with work, deadlines, home improvements, financial issues, and recreational things we want to do, and Internet, and church work. And our children often times end up getting our leftovers; whatever we can kind of scramble together of what's left of our energy, what's left of our input, what's left of our listening. We usually realize that they've gotten our leftovers when it's too late.
I've talked to a lot of guys after they've ended their business career, and I have never ever heard a man say, "You know, my only regret is I wish I'd spent more time with my business." I've had a number of people say, "I only wish I'd spent more time with my children while they had time."
If God has trusted you with a young life - a child - make meaningful time with that child a non-negotiable of your schedule. I mean, even if you have to change jobs, if it takes that to be a father; to be a mother, that's eternity's priority.
They'll change the name on the door of your office, because someone else could do your job. But you are the only mother or father that child has. This applies to spiritual children too; those that you may have led to Christ or to a closer relationship with Him. That was who John was speaking of literally. Don't just bring them to the Lord and walk away. They need you now more than ever.
When our children were small, they cried out when they needed us, and for sure kids have a way of letting you know that they need you. But as they grow, well, they don't cry so much, but they need us just as much, and maybe they cry in different ways. I know that you want the monument for your life to read, "His child/her child is walking in the truth." Well, you know, that takes time. That takes committed prayer for that child. It takes the right priorities. It might take changing things around.
The man with his baby pictures at that important meeting has the right idea. That precious child of yours, well, that's the agenda that really matters. I still remember a grandmother's prayer that was up on a plaque in her house. You can't argue with grandma. Here's what it said: "On that great resurrection day, may I stand before my Savior and say, 'Here am I, Lord, and the children you gave me.'"