Boy was my dad crying!
He blamed it on the onions he was cutting, but I knew different...it was the television show I was watching: "Brian's Song." If you hate to cry, I warn you, DO NOT WATCH IT! DO NOT! Not only does the schmaltzy music tug at your heart, but the true story about a man dying of terminal cancer at the young age of 26 is bound to soften the most callous of men and leave them crying like a baby, "W-a-a-a-a..."
The main characters are Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers. Both were players on the Chicago Bears football team in the 60's --they were assigned to be roommates at rookie training camp and as a result they became great friends. What makes their friendship so special is that Piccolo was white and Sayers was black (Who would of thought a 1971 movie would be so ahead of it's time?). The script for the movie came from Sayers memoir, "I Am Third." He titled it like this because it was the theme of his life:
"The Lord is first, my friends are second, and I am third."
"I Am Third" is a statement of priority (like the new "I Am Second" movement that has been making waves in recent years). It is a way to put life in proper perspective, a system to rightly weigh your attitudes, actions, investments and time resources. The assumption is when you learn what comes first; theoretically, the rest of your life should fall neatly into place.
But this scheme only lists three categories; what about fourth and fifth place? Is there a sixth?
Recently I was in a discussion concerning local church ministry, and we were answering the ever present question of, "Why does it takes so long for the church to get things done? Is it because the church is inefficient, is it lazy, maybe it just doesn't care about people?" Well one of the people in the discussion said something very profound, "The reason is simple, for most people the church is their fifth or sixth priority in life and since it is a volunteer organization, it is bound to take time to get people to really commit and get things done."
Fifth or sixth priority....do people really put the church that low on their list?
Well if "God" is first, (Which practically speaking doesn't really mean much to most people - - but we will go with it), and "others" are second (Wife and kids take an awful lot of that time, money, emotional resources and energy), and "I" am third (Usually this refers to my work and career), how do we assign four, five and six? Here are my suggestions:
FOUR --Your "Hobby" comes next: Hunting, fishing, home projects, scrap-booking, cooking, car engine repair, landscaping, kids' sports ( playing coach, agent and chauffeur for them). This category takes a lot of the reserves that I have left in the tank.
FIVE -- "Entertainment" is a biggy: NFL, NASCAR, "Bachlorette", Star Theater, four-wheeling, snowmobiling, vacation, vacation, vacation. I need my down-time y-know! As the Beasty Boys say " you gotta fight for your right to party."
That leaves SIX with the table-scraps: "church commitment." That is when we finally give Sunday Morning the nod to God: One hour and a half, and then we're good! Right?
It's up to you how to answer that question; but I can say this, "No wonder it is hard to move the gears in the life of the church. No wonder pastors get tired. No wonder why the church seems to let people fall through the cracks." It is a crazy thing going to my son's football practice - - parents will watch their child run up and down a grassy field for two hours in the blazing hot sun and they will never once complain. But if the temperature in the auditorium during one of my sermons gets above 73.5 degrees people want out of there! "Oh the pain."
Why is this?
Simple...because when it comes to church, "I Am Sixth."