A Look At What’s Most Important

Baptist_Temple_cornerstoneBusinesses want to make money, or perhaps a better way of stating it is they need to make money to stay in existence. Employees want to do their jobs so they don’t get fired or get demoted. Parents want to keep their kids safe and out of trouble. Husbands and wives want to have a healthy, mutually beneficial marriage. Good citizens want to study issues and research candidates to the best of their ability to vote wisely. Generally all people want to have enough to eat, nice clothes to wear, a safe and comfortable place to call home, and something enjoyable or meaningful to do.

Nothing is wrong with any of those things people want. Of course there are some selfish or inappropriate desires people have which I’m not going to mention. I’m hoping it’s self-evident that desires for sinful, selfish things aren’t in the running for Most Important.

Completely missing from my list is any mention of God. Sadly I think that’s a reflection of many of our views of life. People are important, jobs are important, safety is important, sufficient money is important, even vacation is important. But God? Yes, He’s important too. On Sunday morning, and maybe during a regular Bible study time or prayer time.

Actually, I suspect most Christians understand and believe that God and our relationship to Him really is the Most Important. It’s figuring out how that looks that gives us problems.

If God is most important, but I have a business to run—a business that needs to make money, what does that look like? If God is most important, and I’m an employee showing up to do my job, what does that look like? What does it look like for parents (or for kids), for husbands and wives, for good citizens, for friends, for neighbors, for drivers stuck in traffic, for people waiting in line at the grocery story, for people sitting down to write their bills . . . for all of us, all the time?

I tend to think there’s not such a great difference in how each of those situations would look. The Bible calls Christ a choice stone, a precious cornerstone—that’s the key foundational piece upon which a building rests. It’s laid first, and it supports the rest of the structure. It’s the Most Important stone.

If God is to be Most Important, then, it seems to me He needs to be first in our thoughts and primary in our “buildings.” For me as a writer, that means I don’t make God my editor or my critique partner. Rather, He’s the one who brainstorms with me. In other words, He’s not my last resort. I don’t come to Him to clean up my mess or even to help me out of tight spots. Instead, I come to Him to begin with. I look to Him for inspiration and for “perspiration”—the strength to start out and to keep going and to get it right.

The great thing about God is that when I don’t start with Him as my cornerstone, He still holds my hand, still passes through the flood with me. He doesn’t fail me or forsake me, though I can’t say the same thing in return. But when I fail, He sets me right and gives me the opportunity to lay the cornerstone of Christ all over again, because He forgives sin.

But there’s more to making God the Most Important. Again, looking at this question from my perspective as a writer, I see He should not merely be first, but He should be the focal point in some way or another, in my stories.

In my personal life, God is the focal point if I love Him more than any other. In Isaiah the prophet says to his nation

Get yourself up on a high mountain
O Zion, bearer of good news
Lift up your voice mightily
O Jerusalem, bearer of good news
Lift it up, do not fear
Say to the cities of Judah
Here is your God. (40:9-10)

In many respects those lines are no different from the “Great Commission” with which Jesus left His followers: Go, give the good news to those near and far.

Giving the good news, however, doesn’t look the same for every single person. Some are preachers, some serve. Some prepare the soil, some plant, some water. All parts of the process are necessary for a harvest. But one thing is true—wheat doesn’t come up by accident.

My writing should be no different from any other aspect of my life. I ought not compartmentalize. God should be Most Important in every aspect of my life—my work as well as my relationships.

The thing is, I make God Most Important by loving Him and obeying His commandments—by keeping Him as God alone, having no idols, treating others the way He wants me to treat them. And in my writing? I keep God alone as God; I have no idols; I treat others the way He wants me to treat them.

But not every writer will put those principles into practice in the same way. Some may say, my writing is a tool by which I can say to the “cities of Judah,” here is your God. Others will say, my writing is a tool by which I can earn money to share with the crisis pregnancy center our church runs. Who’s to say one is better than the other? If both writers are making God Most Important, then who cares whether the two write the same kinds of stories? Neither should judge the other.

And neither should make their stories or their style of writing Most Important—a sure sign God no longer occupies that place.

Published in: on June 9, 2014 at 6:35 pm  Comments (3)  
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