Thursday, April 06, 2006

Making Lists

A few years ago, I heard a man teach a group of Christian college students that we (members of the Lord's church) have too many "lists." He said this as he was introducing a lesson wherein he derided the idea that there are specific, God-appointed acts of worship. Accordingly, after suggesting that we throw our lists into the fireplace, he went on to promote the notion that all of life is worship.

When he finally brought his tirade to a conclusion, he opened the floor for discussion. I quickly raised my hand and when called on, I asked how he would respond to a person who posed the question, "What must I do to be saved?" He stumbled over his words for a moment, then finally said, "I would first tell him that he needed to have faith." I immediately spoke up and said, "You just started a list--you even used the word 'first.'" He stumbled over several other words, changed the subject, and never admitted his inconsistency.

The fact is, lists can be good. They help us organize our thoughts, develop our plans, and accomplish our goals. They help simplify things. The next time you're in a grocery store, go to the magazine rack and look at the covers of the publications. I guarantee that you'll see dozens of magazines with article titles like, "50 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds," "25 Decorating Ideas," "15 Steps to Lower Stress," and "125 Suggestions for Writing List Articles." Apparently, members of the church of Christ are not the only ones who appreciate and benefit from lists.

In light of this no-brainer observation, consider that Jesus Himself alluded to the practice of list-making when He said, "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you" (Matt. 6:33). The term "first" implies that at least a "second" exists. We know, of course, that numerous pursuits in life exist beyond the "second." The point, however, is that God is to be on the top of the Christian's "list." While we might seek after hundreds of other things in this realm, God gets first place. If your list begins with anything else, only then would I agree with the man I heard a few years ago--throw it in the fireplace!

--Preston Silcox