“What I am anxious to see in Christian believers is a beautiful paradox. I want to see in them the joy of finding God while at the same time they are blessedly pursuing Him. I want to see in them the great joy of having God yet always wanting Him.” A. W. Tozer

Sermon #89: Focus on People



As I grew up, right from the time when I was just a little boy, I used to ask myself the question, “What should be my number one passion in this world?” 

This was an important question for me, because I seemed to lack real satisfaction in whatever I did.

I struggled with this question for a long time, even when I became an adult. Whenever I thought of my passions or my potential passions, so many of them would come into my mind and I could not even arrange them in order of priority.

So many adults could be struggling with the same problem. They just cannot identify that which would make their lives glorious. So many are living lives devoid of passion, uninteresting lives, lives that are separated from the fire of life.

What, in your view, should be your number one passion or preoccupation in this world? Remember, before you identify your fire, your life will simply be a burden.

I thank God today because I have managed to rationalise my passions to one or two. Not only that, but I have also managed to convince myself of my number one passion, my top priority or preoccupation. What’s striking is the fact that the passion is not something that I had ever dreamt could qualify as one, yet through it I have discovered my reason for living, my reason for existence.

With each passing day I am becoming more and more convinced that I ought to have awakened to this realisation sooner. I am always reminded of the importance of this passion just by looking at developments around me.

If one does not have something they would die for, something for which they are prepared to make a sacrifice, then they are not really living, but drifting, like objects do.

There is need for us to always be subjects in the environments in which we live and operate, not objects. We need to be beams of light that illuminate others even when all that others see is darkness. Our environments should feel our impact. Your environment should feel you.

If your environment does not feel you, it means that there is something that you are not doing for it; you stand accused of the error of omission. When you die, your environment will never notice your absence because it never noticed your presence in the first place. But if you are filled with positive activity, at the time of your death your environment will say, “There goes somebody who left us their majestic footprints.”

So what’s my passion? What’s my top priority? What’s my preoccupation? What do I or should I dedicate my life to?

I have seriously thought about this - my number one priority. I am convinced that there could never be anything better, at least for me. I do not think that there could be something more useful, and my confidence regarding the truth of this continues to rise.

Every time I ask myself what my number one passion ought to be, one word comes to my mind. The word is “people”. Each time I repeat the question the answer comes to me louder – “PEOPLE!”

I have managed to narrow my passions into just one - people. It is people from the beginning to the end. My life is not only about me; it is also about people, so should yours. I am not living for just me; I am also living for others. I learnt this from my Master. People, people and people. How wonderful!

Jesus Christ’s mission was all about people. When they asked Him why he had come, Jesus answered, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” [John 10:10 NIV]. 

Oh how I love this kind of talk! They, they and they. I just love the “they” language! I think that we have spoken the “I” language far too long that we now need to minimize its use. Somebody once declared that a person needs to knock down their “I" and "me" if they desire to live a truly valuable life.

If there is one thing that has killed us as a people, if there is one thing that has impeded our development (both social and economic) in this world, if there is one thing that has driven happiness from our lives and brought untold suffering, it is the “I” mentality, reinforced by the “I” language.

Just consider for a while what kind of world this would be if you cared about the life of the next person to the same extent that you care about your own life.

Now consider what would happen if suddenly everybody in the world cared more about the next person than themselves. We indisputably would be a wonderful people, a great world of great nations!

Here is what Paul taught at some point: "Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." [Philippians 2:4]. 

Oh how I love the Word of God! We hit our heads on the wall each time we ignore the lessons of life that the Word of God delivers to us. We could solve all our problems in an excellent manner if we stuck to the will of the Father. The above verse has, on its own, immense potential to transform this world into a place remarkable.

Just take a moment to reflect on this. If everybody abided by the teaching given in the verse above:
-Would there be wars?
-Would there be violence?
-Would there be hatred?
-Would there be rape?
-Would there be theft/robbery?
-Would there be murder?
-Would there be drug peddling?
-Would there be human trafficking or slavery?
-Would there be street kids?
-Would there be failed marriages?
-Would there be oppression?
-Would there be jealousy?
-Would there be anger?
-Would there be revenge?
-Would there be corruption?
-Would there be backbiting?
-Would there be grudges?
-Would there be….?

No. There wouldn't be!

Imagine a world in which everybody first considers how the action or inaction that they plan to take would affect the next person and proceed only when they are confident that the action or inaction would either not affect the next person or would only affect them in a positive way!

Do you take such considerations into account in the conduct of your affairs?

Does it ever cross your mind that all your actions and intentions ought to be noble? Do you ever yearn for a good reputation before God and man?

Your answers to these questions would reveal the kind of person you are. I tell you today that there are many people in our midst who no longer have names to talk about. They have cheapened themselves to immense proportions. They are 'ruled out' people. It’s regrettable!

I believe everybody needs some quiet time…a time to reflect. You need space to think about the issues of life. You could be busy about something, and that thing could be taking your entire focus, that you can hardly think about anything else. For example, there are people who are so overwhelmed by their careers/jobs that all they think about every second of their lives is their careers…nothing else.

Some work twenty-four hours each day. I honestly believe that there is something terribly wrong with anybody who is “all career or all job”. There is a great danger of one missing the real thing if they don’t find time to take stock. A career is something everybody needs, but is it 'the' thing?

So I have made up my mind. I will put people first…to feel for them, to work for them, to assist them, to give them ideas, to always seek the best for them in whatever way practical. In my goals, in my plans, in my strategies, in my activities, I will always make it a point not to miss the people dimension, because if I do I will miss the satisfaction that I should derive from all this.

If you follow my writing works, you will find the people dimension very strong in all of them.

You will find teachings that could build people up and make them stand tall in society. You will discover my position regarding life in general. You will see that all my writings are about people…to improve their lives.

You might not have realised this, but what you are reading right now is a “people” sermon. What do you think would happen if everybody who read this sermon took it to heart?

Are you a people person? If you look around, do you see other people or do you see just yourself? 

What language are you fond of; the “I” or the “they” language?

If you were to evaluate your life up to now, do you think you have conducted yourself to your best in this regard?

These and similar questions should always exercise your mind.

I used to think that life was confusing. I have now realised that life is beautiful…but only if you know what to consider important and what to consider trash.

Be very inspired!

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