Christianity was supposed to be about becoming like Jesus. We went in the wrong direction.
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What is Important?


Bill Cosby once observed that as an adult one has the ability to do what was only dreamed of as a child. He said that he could now walk into an ice cream store, put a $10 bill on the counter and ask for 100 ice cream cones. (This was back when an ice cream cone was 10 cents.) This illustration captures a little of how much our values and desires change as we age. Many upon reaching adulthood think that they have finished changing. However, one learns throughout life that changes in perspective or understanding often leave us not only with different priorities, but also with regret.

Consider the gal who succeeds in marrying the high school football hero only to realize later that having waited for someone who was kind and had a sense of humor would have been a better choice. The guy with student debt for a degree in art history who found work as a welder may consider his youthful ambitions to have been unrealistic. The retired grandparent may regret not having invested more of himself and his time in his children.

Much of early adulthood is spent dealing with the consequences of debt, poor choices, and a hectic schedule. Often these choices were made independent of any input from the older generation. One reason for the reluctance to hear from those that are older is that suggestions ring false to those that are younger because what they see now seems paramount. It has been said that there are two ways of learning, either through your own experiences or through the experiences of others. The experiences of others can be less painful for you if you are able to discern them correctly.

A drowning man may feel that a rope is the most important thing in the world, while a man that is bored might think that an amusing diversion would be the most important thing in the world. What one thinks is important changes with circumstances, age, and desires. A person who has no interest in eternal life may not be receptive to warnings that there could be painful consequences for a dissolute life. Even the person who trusts in Jesus for the ultimate salvation of his soul may not see any immediate need to live any differently than everyone else.

A young parent may see a task they are working on as important and the interruption by their child a frustrating intrusion. In a similar way some Christians see a call to a more active Christian life a demand of scant resources (especially time) in pursuit of that which is ill defined. However, just as younger people may not fully appreciate what they will value later in life, we Christians often fail to appreciate what will seem important as we both grow older and more understanding of our faith.

The writer of Hebrews describes spiritual maturity as a result of exercise (Heb 5:14). The folk song “Desert Pete” captures a little of the faith life where trusting that investing in spiritual growth will lead one to invest in that which will produce it. Perfunctory bible reading can be a good start. However aggressive questioning and digging into the word can accelerate learning. Many us us equate bible study with tedious memorization that was required of school work. However, reading God’s word facilitates God (through the Holy Spirit) to work in us to make us better able to discern that which is truly important.



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