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Sunday Message Supplement for 31 July 2022: “Heavenly Priorities”

The text for today’s message is Colossians 3:1-11 & Luke 12:13-21.

            Welcome to a discussion about heavenly priorities, emphasizing spirituality over distractions.

            In the Colossian verses, Paul the author emphasized the value of spirituality, nurtured by virtues that overcome anger and numerous conflicts. Be mindful of your vulnerabilities lest diverse vices and destructive habits creep in, all of which drain your soul, harm your neighbor, and feed self-destruction.

            To get the most out of life, we are encouraged to think and act like a renewed being. A proper spiritual perspective is therefore vital, especially to avoid destructive attitudes and behavior. “Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry)” (Colossians 3:5).

            Humans’ core nature is spiritual rather than physical, hence the value of overcoming earthly distractions weighing against spirituality. Keeping yourself on the path of righteousness is a necessary, constant struggle. A well-managed life overcomes challenges and promotes strength, much like steady gym-work helps you lose weight and build muscle. Although much of material life is governed by the laws of physics, this doesn’t mean we can deny the truth of our essential spiritual nature.

            Prioritizing spirituality raises the issue of being blessed with a new sense of identity. Paul reminded his audience that they could embrace a “new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator” (Colossians 3:10). In light of this encouragement, reject anything which could enslave and ensnare your soul. As a child of the Kingdom of Heaven, promote love, mercy and grace. You can’t control the universe, but you can better manage your response to whatever happens.

Now we shift to the Luke verses where the theme of priorities continues. There’s a curious incident where a man asked Jesus about presiding over a family inheritance, which Jesus refused to engage. Jesus wasn’t interested in judging a conflicted financial matter. Compared to his relationship with God, that man who wanted the inheritance had profoundly misplaced priorities.

Then there was another regrettable character, a wealthy man who was fatally self-centered, consumed with worry about how to store his overflowing crops. Apparently awash with greed and materialism, the man lost touch and made poor choices.  “ ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ “ (Luke 12:20).

            Jesus’ example of the two men serves as a warning about being preoccupied with earthly concerns. It’s easy to lose sight of heavenly matters amid day-to-day struggles. This is why Jesus cautioned against being obsessed by material existence, primarily when it detracts from spiritual life.

            The spiritual realm is our true, eternal home whereas the crusty earth upon which we tread is temporary. To thrive, we must prioritize and master how we think and act amid a minefield of distractions and disruptions. To choose otherwise risks sacrificing true joy and happiness.

God wants us to be vigilant and willing to manage ourselves in a manner that promotes wellbeing in mind, body and spirit. Are you ready for this life-enhancing challenge? Awaken yourself! Set aside any distracting baggage preventing you from becoming the best version of yourself. Embrace God’s spirit and focus on attaining true health.

–Reverend Larry Hoxey

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