We are in the beginning of a new year, closing in on the second coming of Christ Jesus.  That’s the most important thing on anyone’s plate when you get right down to it.  What was the first thought that came to you when you woke up this morning?  Be honest now, you may fool me, but you can’t fool God.  Was your first thought about the Kingdom of God, or what you had on your agenda to do today?  This will come as a shock to many folks, but if the Kingdom of God isn’t first on your mind, you probably won’t be there when your life on earth is over.
   There is the teaching, “Just call upon Jesus and you will be saved”, better known in church circles as “Close your eyes and bow your head and in your heart ask Jesus to come in, don’t worry, nobody will see you, so you won’t be embarrassed.”  That kind of thinking will end you up LOST when it really counts in the judgment.  Those are the ones Jesus spoke of when He said to those who were on His left hand, Depart from me, I never knew you.  Ouch!  Hey, Jesus, didn’t we do mighty works and miracles in your name? Didn’t we cast out devils in your name?  What do you mean, I never knew you?
   First off, this life is only a training ground for the Kingdom of God.  If you aren’t living God’s way right now, why on earth would God bring you into His Kingdom for all eternity?  Think about that one.  God is Holy and Pure and won’t allow sin into His Kingdom.  You say, Jesus takes away our sins, so we are made righteous in God’s sight.  Ok, fine.  Now what are YOU doing on earth with that righteousness right now as we speak; are you a living, breathing member of God’s Kingdom, doing His will, obeying His Word, loving your neighbor as yourself?  Bottom line, are you representing Jesus right where you are?  If not, you have not set your priorities correctly.  What better time than right now to get them straight?  You know, you can’t undo your past, but you can sure change your future, and if your future is important to you, then make sure you HAVE a future.
   King David once made a statement that he would not offer anything to God that did not cost him.  David knew that what he sacrificed unto God meant nothing to God at all if he sacrificed something he found along the road or something worthless.  Your life is the most valuable and important thing you have, and we are told to be a living sacrifice unto God; that it is our reasonable service to do so, meaning, it’s the LEAST we can do.  So, back to where I started, what was your first thought today, how you may please the LORD, or was it on YOUR plan?  Face it, people don’t want to hear this stuff, but it’s far better that I admonish you to get your mind on the Kingdom of God and keep it there, than for the King of Kings to brush you off and say, Depart from me, I never knew you. I remember hearing the famous comedian, W.C. Fields saying in a movie, Go away kid, you bother me, I said you bother me.  Hearing that from him is funny, but hearing it from Jesus is no joke at all!
   Believe me, I’m not trying to put you down or spoil your day.  Indeed, I’m trying to MAKE your day count for something as far as God is concerned.  Earlier this morning I thought about all the “time saving” devices we have in this day and age. We have microwave ovens to quickly heat and cook our food, supposedly saving us time versus cooking over gathering firewood and cooking over an open fire.  We have cars to quickly get us to where we are going, versus walking or riding a horse, and caring for the horse’s needs or riding a bicycle.  We have cell phones that save us the time of actually going to speak to someone face to face.  Ok, so we have all this time saved, then why are we so busy that we don’t have time to spend with God?  People in age past without all these conveniences had lots more time alone with God than we do today.  Why is that, when they often worked sixteen hours a day at a job and still had to cut firewood and care for their animals?  It was, and still is today, a matter of priorities.  You MUST decide what is MOST IMPORTANT and make time for that FIRST.  I hope it’s GOD.
   I’d like to use an illustration that really says it well.  Suppose you have a gallon glass jar, you will fill it to represent your day with large rocks, small rocks, and sand.  The largest rocks represent what is most important to you, and the jar will only hold a couple of the largest ones, say, God and your family.  Next, the smaller rocks represent your job, close friends, and things you must do to maintain things you have.  Next, the sand, the SMALL stuff, and there’s lots of it.  We all have lots of small stuff that constantly takes up our time.  So let’s do it right.  First, in goes the two largest rocks; God and Family.  Next, in goes the smaller rocks, your job, friends, and stuff you need to do to maintain your home, etc, in good condition.  Next goes in the sand, the seemingly endless stuff that demands your attention and interrupts your day, every single day. You got everything in the jar, and still had room for a lot of sand, didn’t you?
   Ok, now let’s do it this way, the way it seems to happen to ALL OF US.  First goes in the sand, fill it up with all the little stuff that you allow to take up your day every day that hits you from the moment you awake until you fall asleep exhausted.  Wait!  The largest rocks and the small rocks are not in the jar!  What happened?  Well, we MEANT to squeeze them in there, but the sand took up all the room and there’s no place left for the IMPORTANT things, because we didn’t do it in the right order.  Get my meaning here?
   Taking the time to make sure the Kingdom of God is your FIRST priority is the most important thing you can do for yourself and everyone else. Ten thousand years from now, that will be the ONLY thing that matters, period, because if you don’t put the Kingdom of God first now, you’ll never make the Kingdom in the first place.  And that would be the saddest thing I can think of, especially considering the Lord Jesus shed His precious blood on the cross to pay for your entrance there.  But if you show God that OTHER stuff is more important to you than He is, He won’t take that stuff away from you, but in the end you will be so very sorry for making the wrong choice.  The good news is, you can reset your priorities RIGHT NOW and start living the Kingdom of God life right now and just keep on doing it throughout eternity. You’ll make God smile!  And you won’t miss all that sand anyway.