Misplaced Priorities

Misplaced Priorities – by Pastor Todd Boxley

a burning house
Misplaced priorities. Once, a woman ran back to her burning home to get baseball tickets (Photo by Zvir on Pexels.com)

Good morning, everyone. Welcome to “Try Jesus!” If this is your first time joining us, it’s great to have you with us. I would like to thank all the new members for joining “Try Jesus.” Also welcome those in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Illinois, this week.

It seems we’re having a bit of a heatwave passing through the country. Summertime is a great time to get outdoors and meet new people. Yes, it’s hot but God is in complete control over nature.

God is always great at calming things, amen? He calms storms in nature and in us. Trust that God has the world in his hands. If he controls the world, then he also controls the climate, right?

It’s hard to see God at work if you’re an unbeliever. Why? Because you need spiritual eyes to see a spiritual God. Let’s pray, “Heavenly Father, thank you for gathering hearts and minds all over this country.

Lord, we begin today by giving you thanks. Thank you for the breath of life this morning. Your love endures forever, it never fails. Though there are many ways in which we have failed, we have not exceeded the supply of your mercy and grace.

We thank you for revealing yourself to us through your word in “Try Jesus.” As we open the Bible today, we pray that we would hear your voice. We ask that your Holy Spirit would be at work, opening our ears to hear and our hearts to receive your word.

May we be transformed into your likeness. Set us apart from the world’s chaotic system. Help us to stand on your strong foundation, who is Jesus Christ, our Lord, Amen.”

Have you ever been ready to do something important with your family and found out there was a slight delay because somebody forgot something? It happens all the time, right?

How many of you have been involved in weddings where you were relied upon to decorate the reception hall? When people get pressed into one time event proceedings it can bring pressure.

I’ve been in situations where taking time to make the right decision is vital to the well-being of those involved. “Hey! Men also need that Calgon take me away moment, or that Southwestern commercial where you just “Wanna get away.”

But let’s face it, there are times when we must choose a direction or take a stance that may not be popular with the masses. This can cause us stress at times and cause us to misplace vital priorities.

To misplace something means to put something in the wrong place. To temporarily have a mindset of forgetting where something may have been placed. Have you ever misplaced your car keys?

How about misplacing those eye readers you rely on day after day. Ever try to read someone’s Bible who has very small print? One of my friends had a very small print Bible and wanted to know what a particular passage meant.

I looked at his Bible asked him if he hung out with Bugs Bunny in the carrot patch. (Smile). He had excellent vision. I’m sure if he misplaced his Bible, he could find it with that telescopic vision (Smile).

We all may misplace things in our lives from time to time. But does it ever affect anyone close to you? Have you ever misplaced something that didn’t belong to you?

These can become important priorities that are crucial towards peaceful resolutions. Have you ever misplaced something important that belonged to your spouse? How much tension followed by your admission?

Did you know some people misplace their priorities around trust, confidence, or affection in an unwise manner. Is it easier to find your own stuff than finding someone’s stuff? We all may have heard someone say, “I can’t remember where I put my papers.”

Misplaced priorities can be seen as giving more priority to something that indeed should require less priority from you at that point in time. Misplacing priorities will, therefore, lead to one losing that priority which was supposed to be the most important.

We’ve all had moments when our priorities weren’t quite in line. But we should never dismiss them as trivial or not affecting others the way they might affect someone else.

There are some real mind boggling silly examples of misplaced priorities that people, having gone through them, have thought to themselves, “I must have been out of my mind to do this.”

For example, many of you love your cell phones, but would give it away if it meant saving your life. One man was given a choice by a robber. He chose to get shot instead of given up his phone.

Another man dropped his phone in an area surrounded by high electrical wires. Another man dropped his phone in the toilet and got his arm stuck. There are all kinds of misplaced priorities that people make that make you scratch your head.

Why would a woman run back into a burning house to get her baseball tickets? What about a woman who went shopping and left her 3-year-old child in the car? Of course, it was extremely hot that day.

Many of you have heard of tragic stories about leaving children in a car with the windows rolled up. The woman in this story locked her keys in the car. The police came and told her they would have to shatter one of the windows to get inside.

She didn’t want the police to damage her 1999 Lexus. She understood that her son needed to get out of the car, so she came up with a compromise. Drive over a mile to her home to get her spare set of keys.

Keep in mind that her son had been in the hot car for 15 to 20 minutes at this point. Children’s body temperatures rise faster than adults. Misplaced priority? What was she thinking? Think she needs prayer about what is important?

What about someone who assaulted another roommate over girl scout cookies? She came home from work and was all set for some mouthwatering cookies.

But her roommate had come home on her lunch break and thought the cookies were a gift. She failed to look at the receipt which she mistook for a note. When the other woman came home, she attacked her and viciously beat her.

Finally, a man preferred prison time over arguing with his wife. Wow! That must have been some real misplaced communication! How did this happen? The man got into trouble with the law on a dump truck violation.

When his court day arrived, the judge put him under house arrest for a number of days. After a few days of confinement in his home, the man got into too many arguments with his wife. 

His wife wanted more help with the kids since he wasn’t working. Eventually the arguing was too much. The man left his house and drove to the police station. He actually proposed prison to married life.

He violated his house arrest and immediately turned himself in because he didn’t want to be at home with his wife anymore. The police denied his request and sent him back home.

“Ok, “Try Jesus” female members, was this man a milk-toast husband or what?” All teasing and kidding aside, this marriage was in trouble long before the violation. The communication they once cherished was broken.

Priorities, priorities, priorities, where are yours centered today when it involves God in your life? What does God say about our priorities? What are the things that matter most in life, the true priorities of life?

Let’s look at how Jesus handled a priority compared to the ones above. Look in your Bible at (Luke 13:10-17). Here we find Jesus in the place where we were accustomed to finding him, doing the work his Father sent him to do.

The Bible tells us Jesus was teaching. He was the greatest teacher that ever lived on earth. He taught the truth of God to a broken creation, us. (Mark 12:29-31; Luke 4:18).

Jesus could set his sights on others because his priorities were in the right place. When dealing with others, Jesus would often get away to pray to his Father.

I would like to categorize some these priorities Jesus throughout his ministry. #1 Priority: Jesus put his relationship with his Father first.

“And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.” (Matthew 14:23 KJV).

Those silly examples of misplaced priorities above can become life endangering to those we say we love. Jesus gave us the example to follow. Some people will use interruptions as an excuse to get away from everyday priorities. Here are proven priorities. 

#1- To love God and to love others, and to do it with all you’ve got. When you sincerely love God, you will also love others. Don’t confuse what’s urgent with what’s important (Mark 12:29-31; Matthew 6:33).

#2- How much priority do you make in putting God first at the beginning of your day? Here’s how Joshua spoke about his relationship with God. God loves you so much, he gives you a choice how to respond to his love.

“And if it seem evil unto you to serve the Lord, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:14,15 KJV).

Jesus likened your priorities to treasures. “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:34 KJV). Where do you put your time, money, and energy? What do you think about most? Are your priorities aligned with Jesus? (Exodus 20:3).

[If God is the center of your life, you will make your relationship with him your highest priority. You will long to spend time with him, to talk to him, to listen to him, to think often about him, to please him, and to obey his word.]

If you want love, peace, assurance, and sanity in your home, invite God into it. Some say, “Pastor Todd, we do put God first in our home, we read the picture frame on our wall every morning that says bless this house, then we go about our own business.”

Seems something is missing. Making God a high priority should demand more time than waving at a framed picture in your home on the way out the door. Seeking God means that your heart should yearn for him.

This takes time. God always looks at our heart in determining how much of himself is in there. He wants to see an image of himself in our hearts. This time you spend is stored up in heavenly realm. (Matthew 6:33; Colossians 1:4-6; 3:2).

#3- Some people set their priorities in a disorganized fashion. Some days they put God first, other days they put their doctor over God. Some married couples put each other over God. I knew of one couple, if the wife didn’t come to church, he wouldn’t come.

5} “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6} In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. 7} Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the Lord, and depart from evil. (Proverbs 3:5-7 KJV).

There is no greater priority than to love and obey God and to accept Jesus’ gift of salvation. Seeking after God’s wisdom is the way to discern right priorities.

Just simply asking and inviting God first before you start your day is wise. (Deuteronomy 10:12,13; Jeremiah 35:15; 1 Kings 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:1; 1 Peter 4:8). Be intentional about priorities. Set them and tend to them first. You’ll have fulfillment.

#4- When you fail at keeping priorities: Doing things in life apart from God brings stress, and unstable consequences. Putting your own interests first (me, myself, and I) opens you up to failing achievements.

Time has not changed human nature. Most people still reject God’s way of living. When we Ignore God’s direction it leads to confusion and destruction. Anyone who has not submitted to God will end up doing whatever seems right to them at the time (Judges 17:5,6).

Some of you may remember a television show called “father knows best.” The show centered around the inter-personal relationships between loving parents and their children.

Each and every episode had a wholesome message such as “What’s more important, career or family?” It’s also about how to allow your children to choose their own path in life even if you don’t approve.

Theparents made mistakes as all parents do and so did the kids, but by the end of each episode, love prevailed, and their family was secure. @- TV Guide.
Don’t all families thrive better when love (boundaries for children) is set by inviting Jesus into it?

The foundation these parents stood on was love. It helped solidify their relationship. It helped them keep their priorities in order. How much more love will God pour into your life when you invite him in? (Matthew 7:7-11; 12:11, 12; Luke 11:9-13; 12:22-28; Romans 5:7-10; Hebrews 9:12-14).

Jesus came to fix broken out of order lives. Jesus had priorities that put the person first. The Pharisees and Sadducees (and religious leaders) had priorities for the people, but they were heavy, burdensome, and hurtful.

If you are using “Try Jesus” in a small group Bible study please read these scriptures aloud to your group. Jesus exposed the religious leaders for their empty words.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.” (Matthew 23:15 KJV).

Jesus mentions the word “woe” (ouai) eight times against the Pharisees and Sadducees in (Matthew 23:13-29). Which is an excamation of grief. This word is similar in some sense to exclamation. It is a sudden cry or remark, especially expressing surprise, anger, or pain.

The religious leaders had a form of godliness but denied the power thereof. There priorities were filled with rotten agendas (Matthew 23:33-35; 2 Timothy 3:5).

[Jesus accused the religious leaders of shutting the door to the Kingdom of Heaven. Jesus made these stinging accusations because the leaders’ hunger for more power, money, and status had made them lose sight of God.]

Their blindness was spreading to the whole nation, preventing people from entering the Kingdom of Heaven. When priorities are selfish, those following will spread falsehoods throughout the community.

Myself and all teachers and leaders today shut the door to God’s Kingdom when they elevate their own priorities, desires, traditions, or ideas above the truths of God’s Word. Some churches actually make it harder to get to heaven with outlandish rules and legalism.

We must not become so involved in perfecting the practice of religion that we forget that God is concerned with mercy, real love, and forgiveness. Misleading priorities can bring an avalanche of sorry.

Bad priorities: The cause and effect:

They can cause others to miss the pathway to heaven. They can cause a failing relationship with a loving God. They can cause people to care more about man-made traditions and programs more than God.

They can cause leaders to cross every “T” and dot every “I.” Where as they should be caring about justice, mercy, and love. They can cause outward appearances to look the part while keeping corrupt things hidden from view.

They can cause leaders to act spiritual while covering up sinful deeds. They can cause pretentious learning curves for themselves and others, while keeping present behaviors that destroy the mind and soul.

The Pharisees and Sadducees were so fixated on their hard prioritized oppressive rules, they missed the real meaning centered around the person. They were more concerned about the iron clad Sabbath laws than the effects it had on the people.

Concerning Sabbath observance, the Mishnah lists 39 primary kinds of labor that were not allowed on that day. Once again, they focused on the letter of the Law and obeyed it with pride, but they missed the weightier things of God.

Their religion was external; their hearts were not transformed. Once again, they appear to obey God, but their hearts were far from him (Matthew 15:7–9; Isaiah 29:13).

Jesus’ Sermon on the mount emphasizes the true intent of the Law over the letter of the Law. The Pharisees and Sadducees emphasized the letter, completely missing its spirit. They cared more about prestige than truth.

Now, let’s go back and look at (Luke 13:10-17). Jesus knew it was the Sabbath before he approached this woman. Seven times Jesus healed people on the Sabbath.

[God created the Sabbath for our benefit; we are restored both physically and spiritually when we take time to rest and to focus on God. For the Pharisees, Sabbath rules had become more important than Sabbath rest.]

Over the centuries, the Jewish religious leaders had added rule after rule to God’s law. Jesus offered love and healing with the law; the religious leaders just offered more stringent rules. The religious viewed the Sabbath with a narrow lens. They sought strict obedience to rules over compassion.

[They saw healing as part of a doctor’s profession, and practicing one’s profession on the Sabbath was prohibited. The synagogue leader could not see beyond the law to Jesus’ compassion in healing this handicapped woman.]

This is still going on today in the year 2023. People are being hurt more by government laws and rules instead of dealing with the true symptoms. Every time we kick God out of something, destruction and pain comes.

Jesus shamed the leaders by pointing out their hypocrisy concerning this woman. They would untie their animals and care for them on the Sabbath, but they refused to rejoice when a human being was freed from Satan’s bondage on the Sabbath.

I see this on TV infomercials when they try to humanize animals and have organizations do everything to try and place animals on the same creative platform as humans. I love animals. God gave them to us to care for.

But God gave us dominion over them. Jesus did not shed his precious blood for animals. Animals were even sacrificed as an atonement for the people’s sins.

Today, we prioritize many things over the care of humans. We lock up produce to keep criminals from stealing merchandise, but we keep releasing the same individuals to commit the crimes over and over again.

We want to save animals but destroy babies. We want to legalize drugs, but we can’t figure out why communities are falling apart with people living on streets. Cities say they want to help people get off drugs, but supply crack vending machines on the street.

I wonder if anyone thought to put Bibles in the vending machines. We want our schools and children to be safe from gun shootings, but then we want to legalize gender affirming surgeries on children.

We say the mind of a youth doesn’t fully develop until age 24, but we insist that they can make life changing decisions about body parts and who they think they might be when they are minors.

We say we care about the planet, climate, and pollution but when the activists and protesters come to an event they trash the place they are pretending to care about.

We say we care about carbon footprints but we drive big SUVs and fly personal jets to world conferences that could be conducted on zoom. We say we care about society but treat them like cattle led to be slaughtered.

We say adultery is wrong, but we promote unhealthy lifestyles in front of our children. We call evil good and good evil in our society today. And we wonder why our priorities are backwards, upside-down, and failing?

If the nation loses it’s one nation under God cover and a healthy respect for who God is, why he created us, and what he wants us to accomplish, how can we learn from the source of all knowledge if we don’t respect his Word?

God wants us to have priorities that put his glory first and then seek the highest good of every individual we come in contact with. Solomon said it so brilliantly.

13} “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. 14} For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil.” (Ecclesiastes 12:13,14; also, Psalm 69:5; James 1:27 KJV).

Satan, on the other hand, wants to bring disunity, insignificance, irrelevance, chaos, and destruction to every created life. He comes to steal, kill, and destroy all that God has purposed for his creation. Satan is the author of all the evil in this world.

The good news is that Jesus is more powerful than the devil and can defeat any plan he may bring against us, if we ask him to be Lord of our lives. When Jesus returns, he will put an end to death, disorder, and division forever.

Jesus did many things that people took umbrage with without understanding why he did it. He simply loves us more than petty rules that add stature to one’s life. He did these Sabbath miracles and received pushback for doing it.

Jesus sent a demon out of a man (Mark 1:21-28).

Jesus healed Peter’s mother-in-law (Mark 1:29-31).

Jesus healed a lame man by the pool of (Bethesda John 5:1-18).

Jesus healed a man with a deformed hand (Mark 3:1-6).

Jesus restored a crippled woman (Luke 13:10-17).

Jesus healed a man with swollen arms and legs (Luke 14:1-6).

Jesus healed a man born blind (John 9:1-16).

Politically, why do people say something is bad for people, but if they do it, they say this is good for the people? Does an “R” or a “D” next to the name matter more than the welfare of its citizens? When laws and rules are applied selfishly the people suffer.

Blind priorities can lead to blind loyalties. Over the centuries, the Jewish religious leaders had added rule after rule to God’s law. For example, God’s law said that the Sabbath is a day of rest (Exodus 20:10-11).

When Christians claim loyalty to God, it means more than just worshiping in church; it involves truly serving others. Keeping his priorities for us on the street called straight means letting your priorities become his (Colossians 2:6-7; Psalm 1:2-3).

When you’re priorities begin to fail, go back to God and reset yourself. It’s like resetting yourself at a track and field event. When you commit a false start, you reset yourself in the blocks. God is one who gives us many opportunities to refocus our priorities.

🗣📢 Last words: Our lives tend to skip from one urgent interruption to another. And all the while, we miss what is really important. When we fail to set priorities, we will stop doing what is right in God’s eyes (Judges 17:6).

How can we distinguish true priorities from apparent priorities, like a ringing phone? Don’t’ allow worldly distractions from Satan to water down what’s vitally important in keeping your priorities clear and in eyesight.

The Bible always sets your priorities in order from start to finish. (Philippians 1:6; Proverbs 3:6; 1 Corinthians 1:8; Romans 8:28-30; Titus 3:4-6).

Seek his will in all you do, and he will prioritize all he has for your life. You are always the apple of his eye. God is more dependable than the US Postal Priority Mail. SO, GET PRIORITIZED!

🛐 Here’s a plumbline prayer you can pray. “Heavenly Father, thank you for today’s message. I have procrastinated far too long. I need renewed priorities in my life. Lord, I come into agreement with your powerful name.

Whether I’m by myself or with others around me, you are in the midst of my life. I know you will answer my contrite heart. There is no distance from your Spirit and mine when I call your name.

Lord, open the eyes of my heart and help me consider the new priorities you will guide me in. I place all my priorities each day in your hands so you will be glorified in the decisions that are made.

Rearrange my daily priorities so I can rest in you and be flooded with your peace. Help me to have all things concerning you with proper balance. Help me invest in the present, but also in eternity.

Thank you Lord for the possessions you have given me to be a good steward over. They are temporary but used for Kingdom blessings. Help me to manage priorities for long life. May these resources you’ve given me help others.

Father, help me always organize with your wisdom. I want to invest wisely with your priorities so you will be pleased. I pray you help me to manage time wisely.

Lord, strengthen me to further your priorities that will further your Kingdom and outlast this earth. I decree and declare and receive everything you give in the wonderful and precious name of Jesus, my Lord, amen.”

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“The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.”
Pastor Todd Boxley Worship Center Ministry tryjesus.com

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