In the end, nothing else matters except God. In the end, nothing else matters except God. What do you think when you hear that? In my year seven classes at school we’ve started the Christian Studies programme by looking at the theme, “What’s important in my life”, and ultimately seeing where God needs to fit into our lives. We did this exercise where I wrote on the board a whole list of different things that kids might consider part of their lives – food, family, sport, computer games, music, etc – and, of course, I put God up there as well. Then I told the kids to prioritise them, list them in order from most to least important to them. Of course there were lots of individual responses, but there were some general themes I could identify. Most of the girls put family at the top while most boys put either playstation or sport. After they had completed the exercise, one of the more thoughtful students asked me, “where should God go on the list?”
A few other kids became interested in the question, so I said, “let’s see what Jesus says about – what sort of priority does he say we should give to him?” We looked up Luke 14: 26-27 and we read this: (Jesus says), “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters – yes, even his own life – he cannot be my disciple. And anyone does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple”. After we had talked about what that actually meant, one of the kids exclaimed, but that’s ridiculous! And when we read Luke 14, or we read of Paul’s attitude in Philippians, I think that’s our sort of reaction. When Paul says that he considers everything else rubbish so that he may gain Christ, many of us might be tempted to think that they are just the words of a specially-chosen, freakishly religious man. But surely the rest of us mere mortals can’t expect to be as singularly committed as he is.
That’s not to say Christ isn’t incredibly important to us. He is, but we’ve got other things in our life as well that, we’ve got responsibilities too. I remember my parents once saying to me, “It’s right that God is important to you, James, but don’t forget that there are other things in life as well.” What does Philippians 3 say in response to that sort of attitude?