Photo by Claudio Schwarz on Unsplash

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

What do you think the priority of a university should be? Many say, “The education of students, pushing the frontiers of knowledge through research,” or similar words. But to see the amount of money spent on extracurriculars, such as athletics, one might argue that education is a second or lower priority. When the University of California, Santa Cruz entered the world of college athletics, the students wanted to establish a proper priority between education and athletics. They did so by adopting the name “Banana Slugs” for its teams. The odd name brought some attention, but it also promoted a more balanced perspective between the school’s priorities – education first, athletics somewhere below that.

Here's a similar question, “What do you think the priority in our lives should be?” The answer, I hope, would be something like, “I should love, trust, and obey God above all else.” That’s a great answer. But how do we show this is our top priority? The Prophet Micah tells us what Israel thought its top priority should be – burnt offerings, rams and rivers of oil, and offering their firstborn (Micah 6:6-7). It sounds good, but does God really want our sacrifice of things to Him as our top priority? No. God requires the following, “Do justice, and love kindness, and walk humbly with God.” (Micah 6:8)

God desires that we show what our top priority is by being living sacrifices (Romans 12:1) … loving Him by giving ourselves in love to others in accordance with God and His word. To “walk humbly with God” involves trusting and loving Him by obeying His word as we live out our lives together. We do that by showing our love to those around us – not just the people we love and care for, but all people everywhere – treating them fairly, helping provide for their needs, protecting them from injustice, forgiving those who sin against us … in short, loving them as God loves us. Let us seek to live like this, establishing our top priority – God is #1!

                                                                        In Christ’s Love,

                                                                        Pastor Jim