Dear brothers and sisters,
Good morning. I didn’t know how much I missed the brothers and sisters in Chinatown campus until I was invited to preach in the Mission month yesterday. It was great to meet many good old friends at church. Loretta and I were blessed to be embraced by their love and concerns in both the Cantonese and Mandarin congregations. Praise the Lord!
"My kingdom is not of this world" (John 18:36). The great enemy to the Lord Jesus Christ in the present day is the conception of practical work that has not come from the New Testament, but from the Systems of the world in which endless energy and activities are insisted upon, but no private life with God. The emphasis is put on the wrong thing. Jesus said, "The kingdom of God comes not with observation, for lo the kingdom of God is within you," a hidden, obscure thing. An active Christian worker too often lives in the shop window. It is the innermost of the innermost that reveals the power of the life.
We have to get rid of the program-oriented spirit of the religious age in which we live. In Our Lord's life there was none of the press and rush of tremendous activity that we regard so highly in church, and the disciple is to be like His Master. The central thing about the kingdom of Jesus Christ is a personal relationship to God, not public usefulness to men.
It is not the practical activities that should be the strength of discipleship training, its whole strength should lie in the fact that you are trained to abide in God. You have no idea of where God is going to engineer your circumstances, no knowledge of what pressure is going to be put on you either at home or at work, and if you waste your time in over-active energies instead of sinking into the great fundamental truths of God's Redemption, you will break when the pressure comes; but if the time of abiding in God is being spent in getting rooted and grounded in God on the unpractical line, you will remain true to Him what ever happens.
I guess we are conditioned by the world to focus on urgency than importance. If we don’t have a clear sense of life mission or purpose, we lost focus on what is the most important things in life. We know the rule of “first thing comes first.” But if you have no clue of what is the “first thing” in life, then you don’t know which one should come first. As a result, urgent thing will become the first thing, even though it may not be the important thing to you. A lot of time, urgent thing is someone’s “first” thing but not yours. And being a “nice” guy, you will assume other’s first thing to become your first thing. Therefore, you will busy yourself in putting out fire – it could be very exhausting and draining. It is usually the “urgent and not important things” that burn out your emotion.
What is your “first” thing in life? Jesus said, “Seek Him first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness” (Matt 6:33a). Is seeking God and right relationship with Him your first priority in life? We usually will give excuse for not doing the most important things; your relationship with God and family for example. You will use your “urgent things” to excuse yourself from the important things. You are always too busy to pray and spend time with family members. You always have time for the “unimportant things” or “urgent things” in life. No wondered you are always so exhausted and burn out. It is time to refocus yourself on the “first thing” in life, so that the first thing helps energize you to take care of the urgent and less important things.
Love you in Christ,