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My dad was asked one time, “Pastor, how is your church doing?” He said, “Well the church is kind of up and down right now-up at the mountain hunting, and down at the lake fishing.” My dad had a quick wit and a great sense of humor. He went hunting one time with his great friend and brother-in-law, Landis Boyatt. It was an unsuccessful hunt, so when they finished, Dad said to Landis, “Let’s shoot at each other’s hats.” Dad said he threw his hat up first, and Landis shot at it and missed. Landis then threw up his hat, and Dad waited ‘til it fell to the ground, walked over and blew it all the pieces. Many times in life, we take ourselves so seriously we can’t enjoy anything. We stress over things and worry so much, and it really doesn’t change a thing. Along these lines of funny stories, I remember one story my dad relayed to me about going fishing for striped bass on a Sunday morning. Dad thought he could get out there early enough in the morning, catch some stripers, and then get home and get ready for church. He related to me he was catching more stripers than he ever had in his life, pulling in one after another. Dad was catching so many that he lost complete track of time, and so the church started that Sunday morning without their pastor being there. He told me the story with a laugh, and then said, “I never went fishing on a Sunday morning again.” Now, fishing is an awesome past time. In fact, it’s one of the best there is, but on that particular Sunday morning, it was a distraction for my dad.
The lesson my dad said he learned from that Sunday morning is that even good things can sometimes distract you from the better. He taught me very strongly that,in life, one’s priority system should look like this: number one is God, number two is family, and then ministry and everything else follows. My dad continued to fish a lot, but he never fished on a Sunday morning again. My dad was a man of priorities, and I am blessed I got to be taught by him and to see him live out those priorities in front of me. The Bible says it this way, “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” The person with the priority that says, “God is not just number one, He’s the only one”, will be greatly impacted by that decision. Sometimes, we hold so tightly to the good that we’re not able to grasp the best. In life, I have found one of the most important lessons is to understand that I must detach in order to attach.
My dad‘s commitment to his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ meant that he was constantly checking his priority system. I thank God that my dad‘s priority was Jesus first, then family.