First Things First

May 7, 2019

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24

Every time we say The Lord’s Prayer, we make an acknowledgement. When we say, “Our Father,” we are owning our awareness that we are not His only child. His love, devotion, kindness, and goodwill are not to be lavished on just us. He loves others just as deeply. If you are a parent of more than one child, you get it. To think of choosing just one child is . . . well, unthinkable. Our hearts are unsettled and uneasy when the relationship between our children is not good.

The love and commitment run so deep that He is not interested in hearing about our love for Him or receiving our gifts unless and until we address the brokenness between us and our Christian siblings. God says we can’t even offer right worship, worship that is acceptable, until we initiate peace. We can’t always MAKE peace, but our job is to do the things that MAKE for peace. As Jesus was on His way to the city of Jerusalem the week before He died, He wept over the city and said, “Oh, if you would have recognized the things that make for peace, but you would not!” (Luke 19:42). I wonder how often Jesus weeps over our marriages, our families, our relationships, and says the same thing. Romans 14:19 tells us to pursue the things that make for peace, and try to build each other up.

What relationship in your life needs the most immediate help? How could pursuing the things that lead to peace make a difference? Jesus said the things that make for peace are owning the problem, taking responsibility for it, and going in a spirit of humility and responsibility to the person with whom you have a broken relationship to initiate conversation.

Pursuing peace is a matter of life and death for your relationship. Not only with the other person, but your relationship with God too.

Pursue peace. The future depends on it.

  • Reflect back on Sunday’s worship. Given the state of your relationships with others, how do you think God felt about your participation?
  • Honestly, do you think there’s a possibility you have ever thought church on Sunday lacked a little spark or was a little lame, when the actual problem might have been a lack of God’s Spirit on YOU because of the broken state of a relationship?
  • If there’s a relationship that needs help, get started on the reconciliation process. Don’t just pray. DO SOMETHING. Your spiritual life depends on it.