Have you noticed how busy you are these days?  It’s as if our days have been shortened to six hours and yet we still have twelve hours of stuff that needs to be done.  So we hurry to get in the things we think need to be done.  

I read a story about a college professor who was giving his students a lesson on priorities, and I’d like to share it with you today.  He talked about using your time wisely to get the most important things done first, and used a large glass jar to illustrate his point.  On the table were three large rocks, five medium sized ones, and twenty smaller ones, and half a jar of sand.  He started off by putting the largest rocks in first, then the medium sized ones next, then the smaller ones, and last of all the sand, and the jar was completely filled.

But next, he emptied the jar out, and removed the rocks, and poured the sand in first, then the smallest rocks, then the medium rocks, and the jar was already full.  There was no way to fit the largest rocks in the jar.  What happened?  The priorities were out of order.  And so it is for many people today, they are unable to prioritize their most important things, and waste their time on things that are not really important.  Then, when they realize there is no time for the really important things of life, it is too late, they just can’t squeeze them in.  I heard today these words, “It’s later than you think.

It is written in Luke 12:29-46,

29  And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.  

 30  For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things.

 31  But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Now in Matthew 6:33, it says “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”  There we see a priority being placed upon the Kingdom of God.  Not your job, not your family, not your finances, but the Kingdom of God.

32  Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Why is it we think we have to beg and pry every blessing out of God?  We could have a lot more joy in our lives if we just let God have His way with our lives, after all, He created us, so He knows our needs better than WE do.  And, it’s His good pleasure to provide for us His Kingdom.  Think of His Kingdom: streets of gold, is there any good thing lacking there?  Is there stress, or an alarm clock calling us to rush off to work?  But rather, forever to bask in His love and enjoy His presence, the very thing we “didn’t have time for before”.

33  Sell that ye have, and give alms; provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that faileth not, where no thief approacheth, neither moth corrupteth.

34  For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

35  Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning;

36  And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately.

37  Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them.

38  And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

39  And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.

40  Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.

41  Then Peter said unto him, Lord, speakest thou this parable unto us, or even to all?

Here’s something we need to get: Peter asked if that parable was to them specifically, or to us all.  Notice what Jesus answered.

42  And the Lord said, Who then is that faithful and wise steward, whom his lord shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat in due season?

43  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

44  Of a truth I say unto you, that he will make him ruler over all that he hath.

45  But and if that servant say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; and shall begin to beat the menservants and maidens, and to eat and drink, and to be drunken;

46  The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers.

By the time you get up in the morning and get dressed, you’ve already pretty much prioritized your day as to what you’re going to do.  Keep in mind, we all have 24 hours in our day, but what we do with those 24 hours determines who we are.  There are no two of us alike; and that’s why we don’t all get up in the morning and do the same thing.  What is important to one, may not be important to another.  For example, I’m retired, it’s no longer my priority to get up and rush off to work.  But thirty years ago I was just as much in the rat race as anyone.  However, things changed.  I got older and older until the time came I was able to retire and then absolutely overnight my priorities changed.  My first day of retirement, I got up at the usual time, ready to go to work, until I realized, this is a new chapter of life for me, and the old one is over.  For a while, it seemed odd not to be caught up in rush hour traffic, and having a knot in my stomach from stress at work.

I didn’t miss the stress at all, but I realized one day early into retirement that things were different, I could slow down and start enjoying the things I’d missed out during my working years.  For example, I had worked two and three jobs all my life, and was accustomed to getting by on three hours of sleep per day, and now that I didn’t have to get up and go to work, I could sleep in.  Only, I couldn’t sleep in.  In fact, to this day I still wake up in two hours after laying down.  Old habits are hard to break, and sometimes, impossible to break.  Sometimes we still fail to realign our priorities to the current times.  As I said, I heard the words, “It’s later than you think.”  So how would that affect my priorities?  It would tell me, get the biggest rocks in the jar FIRST!

From day one, seeking God was no longer a one day a week thing.  The whole reason I was retired in the first place was I was diagnosed with terminal cancer and wasn’t expected to live much longer.  Back then my concept of God was much like everyone else’s; something to do when there wasn’t something else more important to do, like, if it was raining and the fish weren’t biting at the lake, and there was nothing good on tv.  You know how it is.  But now, my priorities shifted, from making a living, to simply living longer.  And it was pretty obvious, if I had any hope of living longer, it had to be God making it happen, not me and my priorities.

Well, I’ve given my testimony plenty of times before, so I won’t go into it again, but to say this: that day I found my time was very short,  my focus in life became to know the God that I’d so long stuffed into a small pigeon hole in my desk of life.  Those scriptures in Luke became very real to me.  I had lived my entire life with the wrong priorities, would God give me a chance to get them right?  There was nothing in my life that warranted another chance.  If it was to happen, it would be by the grace of God and nothing else, for I had no aces up my sleeve to pull out.

Some of you have probably had your priorities all messed up for a long time.  It’s later than you think.  But you’re still alive and breathing.  I said, you’re still alive and breathing, and with that, you can use this precious, short time to re-arrange your life today, and get those biggest rocks in the jar first.  There’s no more time to waste your days with stuff that won’t help you in eternity.  This life is but the life of a flashbulb, poof, and it’s out.  But after POOF, there’s FOREVER, ages without end.  Where do you see yourself spending forever without end?  If it isn’t in the Kingdom of God, you put the wrong thing in your jar first.

As I said, you’re still alive and breathing.  None of us have a guarantee of another heartbeat.  We can be here one second and gone into eternity the next.  While we’re here, we can ask God to forgive us for putting Him in last place instead of first place.  We can change our ways and seek Him first, and plan our days around fellowship with Him and His Word.  Or we can take our chances and hope to get our lives right at one minute until midnight, and hope He doesn’t come for us at 11:30.  I’m so glad He gave me another chance.  He wants YOU to not be caught by surprise when He comes, so when He comes knocking you will let Him in immediately.

So how about it?  We can play church, or we can play for keeps.  We can discern the time as a wise steward and put God in first place, or we can go on, business as usual.  Back in Noah’s day, they did the same thing, that is, until the flood came and took them all away.  THEN they wanted to seek God, but it was too late.  It was too late.  No second chance, no more excuses, “Ah, Lord, one day you and I will get it together…someday soon…”   We’ve been doing that for a long time now, haven’t we?  As for me, I know indeed the time is later than we think.  There’s no time left for putting God off. Jesus is knocking right now, can’t you hear him?  Open quickly, before He leaves to go knock somewhere else.  It’s later than you think….