My father-in-law, Jerry O’Dell
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My father-in-law, Jerry O’Dell, is a missionary evangelist who has traveled all over the world. Hisknowledge of the Word and ministry has been a great blessing as he has mentored me in my life. One of the things he told me one day was, “Look out for sucker vines.” He explained to me that a sucker vine was a vine that takes up a lot of the sap but produces no fruit. I saw that what he was telling me is look out for areas of my life that consume a lot of time, effort, and energy, but produce nothing of lasting value. I then began to look over my life and realize that there’s been a lot of things in my life that have taken up time and effort but have produced nothing. Someday, every one of us will have a granite stone or a brass plaque with an inscription on it for us. It will have the date that we took our first breath, and the date that we took our last breath. In between these dates, there will be a dash. This dash is our life. There’s a story that I heard years ago about a break-in at a department store. The story was that someone had switched the price tags on the items in the store. The fur coat was now worth $20 and a raincoat was worth $1000. We can do this many times in life. That which is really important is treated lightly, and that which is not important is treated greatly. The Bible says, “Guard your heart for out of it flows the issues of life.” This shows up many times in what we put our priorities in. The Bible says, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I can look at where I spend my money, and I can see where my heart is. I’ve worked to keep a priority system in my life that’s very clear: God, family, and then the other endeavors of life. I’m sure, like many, I have failed at this at times, but it’s always good to remind ourselves in life what is really important. Sucker vines take the same sap as the vines that are producing fruit. A man said once, “I finished climbing the ladder of success and then realized it was against the wrong wall.” D. L. Moody said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.” It’s always good to do a spiritual inventory of our time and our life to see what is and is not producing.