The Epitaph

Seek ye first  Is your heart right?

Living in any way short of seeking first the Kingdom in all our ways will leave us lacking and wanting. I contend that whatever area of our lives we refuse to surrender to the Kingship of our Lord, whatever we despair of relinquishing control of will be the area in which we are found the most lacking, where we will struggle and stress the most. If we want something to be truly blessed, we have to let go of it and let God have it. That is how we seek the Kingdom and get all that we need in return. It’s a tricky and scary proposition I know.

You want to be vulnerable and weak, then keep striving to build your own strong tower. You want to be insecure and paranoid? Then keep working to build up your own name. Can you say narcissistic? Boy, look at the house of cards our politicians are living in, they build themselves up and we tear them down. And great is the fall of them.

 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.” Mat 7:2

A familiar verse from the story of the man who build his house on sand. That doesn’t mean we can’t build, we just need to keep our priorities straight and keep reminding ourselves whom we really want to be in control because at the end of the day, if it’s all about us, us will be very lonely and unpopular, not to mention living in a fallen house.

The Funeral

That reminds me, I went to a funeral years ago for a business man I knew very well. He had built a thriving and very respected contracting company. I knew him to be a no nonsense guy who had little time for chit chat and expected his employees to be the same way.

His funeral was well attended and held in the church where it was well known that he had donated his money and the time of his employees to help build the building. Towards the end of the service they opened the floor to any who wanted to share memories and after a long awkward pause his wife and grown daughters finally got up to share their memories and I was surprised and quite frankly shocked by what they shared.

They told stories about how he used to strut around the house on weekends crowing about how he had become so successful and how respected and important he was. I kept waiting for the punch line but there was none, apparently he was serious. As they shared I got the distinct impression that they really weren’t going to miss him all that much.

It struck me that though he had provided a good home and gave his family all they desired or needed financially. A nice house, college educations, a reputable well-known name— he hadn’t given them what they really needed, a father who showed humility and love in a way his family could appreciate.

He claimed to be a Christian, and I believe he was, but his priority was seeking his own kingdom first, even his donations to his church seemed to be for recognition and bragging rights, “Look at that, I made that happen.” I know, I sat there in that church and had pointed out to me the beams supporting the roof that his guys had put in at his command. Again, there is nothing wrong with that, trust me, I appreciate every nickel and every minute that people give to this building and this ministry. But if you are doing it for bragging rights, please, you are seeking the wrong kingdom in doing so.

I mean, I take pride in my work and take delight in having had the time and abilities to do a lot of the work in this very building, but I didn’t do it for me, I did it for you, I did it for the Kingdom. This is not my kingdom, nor is it yours. As soon as it becomes that, it will end up a very lonely place with an epitaph that reads; “Great guy, nice place, too bad he’s gone— No, not really—actually he was kind of arrogant and annoying.”

“Seek first the Kingdom of God and all these things will be given to you.”The words of Jesus.

I truly believe that if we are using all that we have, our time, our talents, our wisdom and money to bless others, putting others first, we are putting the Kingdom of God first and he will abundantly bless us in return. Then we will have an epitaph that reads: “A blessed person whom we were blessed to know and whom we will dearly miss, till we meet again.”

Love your family today, before you become a memory.

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