What do you think is really important? If you ask that question to a hundred different people, you might get a hundred different responses. The list of things considered important would be longer than a country mile. I’m sure most would include things like family, love, and security. But what if the question was narrowed down? If you asked, “What do you consider to be the single, most important thing in life?”
This question matters because we will pour our time, attention, energy, and investments into whatever we consider to be the most important aspects of life. That thought alone can be sobering if we pause long enough to ponder what it means in our lives. The truth is that we can give lip service to whatever we claim is important, but whatever we pour our resources (time, energy, and money) into reveals what we really consider to be important. A man may say that the most important thing to him is his family, but if he chooses to spend his time and money on other things to the detriment of his family, then he’s only fooling himself. I’ve often said, “Let me see your calendar and your checkbook and I’ll tell you what you think is important.” So, you see, this question may be the most important question that we could answer.
So, what is the most important thing in this life? Where should we be investing our resources? Paul had this to say about it. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, he wrote, “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me. Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, just as the Scriptures said.” Of all the various important aspects of life, Paul narrowed it down to the simple gospel of Christ crucified for the sins of humanity, buried in a borrowed tomb, and raised from the dead on the third day.
There are a lot of things that we think are important in this life, but Paul makes it clear what is most important – the gospel of Jesus Christ. Most (if not all) church problems come when we forget what is most important. The color of our carpet – meaningless. The style of music we choose to worship with – trivial. Following our man-made rules and regulations – futile. Protecting our reputation – silly. Worrying about future problems – wasteful. Telling people that Jesus died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead on the third day – everything! Nothing else really matters.
So, let me ask you the question again, only this time examine how you spend your time and your money before you answer so that you can answer honestly (even though the answer may be painful). What is most important to you? Where do you spend your time? Where do you spend your money? Are you investing in the ephemeral things of this world or are you investing in eternal things? If you put your life under the proverbial microscope and discover that you are pouring your life out for things that really won’t matter in the long run, then make a conscious decision to change your priorities. The only thing you can take to heaven with you is other people. All other earthly investments are fleeting and temporary. Begin to invest your life and your resources in the one thing that matters most – telling people about Jesus. That’s an investment decision that will pay dividends forever.