Sermon Illustrations - Tag: priorities
Posted by Douglas on Jun 25, 2018

If you've spent much time browsing this site, you've probably figured out by now that I'm a fan of hiking. Some of my best times of thought, meditation, and prayer happen on a quiet trail through the woods to a mountain peak.

But my priorities in hiking have changed quite a bit in the last few years. For a long time I set as a goal for myself to hike all the four-thousand-foot peaks in the state of Maine. What? Maine has four-thousand-footers? You bet! We have fourteen of them. And I intended to hike all of them. So far I've hiked ten of the fourteen. The last time I bagged a new four-thousand-footer was about seven years ago.

So what happened? Well, there were a couple things that happened. The first was that I hiked some mountains like Redington Mountain and Spaulding Mountain, which -- despite their impressive heights -- had little to no views. When you are used to hiking mountains with nice views, an eight-mile hike with no views is a bit off-putting.

The other thing that happened was: I got married and had kids. Now when I go hiking, most of the time I'm trying to find mountains that a five-year-old (and sometimes even a three-year-old) can do.

Suddenly, I don't even care about bagging four-thousand-foot peaks. The truth is, I'd rather hike mountains I've hiked ten times already, like Mount Chocorua, or Kearsarge North, or Tumbledown, or Bald Mountain -- mountains that I know and love for their beautiful views -- than to hike a mountain I've never done, no matter how big, if I know there are no views at the top.

My priorities changed a bit during the last few years. I still love hiking, and get out to hike when I can, but it's less important to me now than it was.

In Luke 12, Jesus said:

12:34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.Luke 12:34 (ESV)

This is a bit of what I've experienced. More and more, my treasures are found right in my own home, rather than on a list of mountains to check off. And where my treasure is, my heart follows.

The context of this verse is not about children and mountains -- it's about the treasures of heaven: 

12:32“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.33Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.34For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.Luke 12:32-34 (ESV)

The principle is this: if your treasures are in heaven, you will prioritize the treasures of this life far more lightly. Why is the believer willing to sacrifice and give with generosity, not seeking anything in return? Because the believer sees a treasure far beyond the riches of this world.

Whenever we find something greater our heart follows that greatness, even if it means leaving the lesser behind.

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