As a child I was always mesmerized by a spot near our home where two rivers came together- it was powerful and beautiful! This is a picture for me of what happens as people learn to incorporate the priorities of Jesus into their lives- each time they do so it is like a new stream being added to their lives that helps them more powerfully and accurately reflect Jesus to the world!
What were the priorities of Jesus? When Christ followers begin to live out the priorities that are the most important to Jesus it is pleasing and honouring to God, it helps people see what a true follower of Christ looks like, and it draws people to Christ.
What were the top priorities of Jesus? Consider 3 of the top priorities of Jesus we see in Scripture and how we need to make them our priority too!
1. THE LOST
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. (Mt. 28:19)
… repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. (Luke 24:47)
Jesus urgently desires that people from every tribe nation and tongue will experience His full salvation- His rescuing, healing, comfort, restoration & grace.
When you get close to the heart of Jesus, you hear it beating “THE LOST! THE LOST! THE LOST!” When we care for the THE LOST we are living out the priority of Jesus!
2. THE LEAST
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’ (Mt. 25:34-40)
Jesus cares about every person for whom life is painful (the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick, the prisoner). In scripture God has a special place in his heart for ‘the least of these’- the poor, the orphan, the fatherless, & the widow. He identifies with them so much and he wants their needs met- so he says that whatever you do to the ‘least of these’ it is though you have done it to Jesus himself!
When you get close to the heart of Jesus, you hear it beating “THE LEAST! THE LEAST! THE LEAST!” When we care for THE LEAST, we are living out the priority of Jesus.
3. THE LITTLEST
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked the people, but Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” And he laid his hands on them and went away. (Mt. 19:13-15)
Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea. (Mt. 18:5-6)
The potential and the needs of children are often ignored. Around the world it i often the children who suffer the most when there is unrest, famines, corruption and war in their nations. Jesus wants children to be protected and cared for. He wants the little children to come to him. He even says that the kingdom of God belongs to them. Other people do not prioritize the development of little children- but Jesus did!
When you get close to the heart of Jesus, you hear it beating “THE LITTLEST! THE LITTLEST! THE LITTLEST!” When we care for THE LITTLEST, we are living out the priority of Jesus!
Are the priorities of Jesus our priorities today?!
Living out the priorities of Jesus is not easy! I know that I have sometimes been resistant and that it has taken some time for Jesus to soften my heart. There was a process that God needed to take me through to help me understand that if I took care of the types of people that Jesus wanted me to take care 0f- that Jesus would take care of all of the needs of my family.
The more we focus on the priorities of Jesus- the more we align with God’s purposes for our lives and the more blessed we are. That is why my wife and I love partnering with organizations like Compassion that are focused on the lost, the least and the littlest. We want to get closer and closer to the heartbeat of Jesus and help others to do so as well!
We are finding that the more individuals, families, churches, colleges, etc. focus on the priorities of Jesus, the more joyful, productive and contagious they are. The more they are self-absorbed, the less compelling and transformative their stories are.
Q: What are some of the effective ways you have seen people care for the lost, the least and the littlest?