I would imagine if you were to ask any Christian parents what their number one goal for their children is, they would reply that they want their children to grow up to be strong Christians and to spend eternity in Heaven. (Or at least, I would hope that would be the response.) But our minister said something yesterday about Zacchaeus that got me thinking. Making money and having nice things had been important to Zacchaeus, even though it appears he considered himself religious enough to be interested in seeing Jesus. His top goal until the sycamore tree encounter had been making the large amounts of money common in his occupation.
Is our top goal really earning a lot of money and having lots of nice things? Or perhaps our most important goals have been those we have for our children – to help them get the type of job that will give them financial security and wealth? Or has some other goal actually become more important than our children’s spiritual growth and health?
It is said that one way to really understand your priorities is to see where you spend the most time and money. It makes sense. A “foodie” probably buys all of the best kitchen equipment and ingredients. He or she most likely spends a lot of time looking through cookbooks, finding the best restaurants or making their own edible creations. A “foodie’s” budget and time would be skewed towards those items and pursuits connected to food in some way.
Sit down with your kids and examine how each of you spends time and money. What “wins” out over God? Is it getting the best education? A baseball scholarship? A promotion? The perfect body, clothes, games or following? In fact, when you compare how you each spend time and money on your favorite interest(s) to how you spend time and money on God, how great is the difference? Is God a distant second, third or tenth down the line?
When God isn’t first in our lives and the lives of our family members, everything gets out of alignment. If you’ve ever driven too far on tires that were misaligned, you know it can end in disaster. When your priorities, goals and activities don’t reflect that you are putting God first, you can’t be surprised when your children push God even farther down the list in their own lives. In fact, God may become so marginalized, He is viewed as just another of dozens of equally important activities – easily substituted by one that is more entertaining or rewarding in their minds. Don’t let the spiritual lives, priorities, goals and activities of your family get out of alignment. Put God first, where He was always meant to be.