Matthew 6:33 was my first key verse after I became a Christian in 1980. To this day, this verse prompts me to evaluate my priorities and my heart. It also spurs me on to love and good deeds (Heb 10:24).
My first application of Matthew 6:33 in 1980 was to read the Bible the first thing in the morning when I woke up, instead of reading my medical books first. At the time, I was a medical intern at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. This was very good for me. It helped me to set myself grounded and rooted in Scripture the moment I woke up in the morning. I still earnestly wish to do so, yet sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I make my expresso latte and check my emails first …. subconsciously I think!
To prioritize God in my life since 1980 I also NEVER MISSED any of the following for about three decades: worship service at UBF every Sunday; 4 or more meetings every week for fellowship leaders, elders, students; and Easter conferences, Summer conferences, Christmas worship services and staff meetings every year without fail. Someone supposedly said of the Puritans that they were “meeting going animals.” Surely I was one of them!
Do I have any regrets about attending “too many meetings” for three decades? Perhaps so, probably because in my opinion the time could have been better spent with other people besides UBF people, with family and with loved ones. Also, today I regard that more personal time spent reading, reflecting, evaluating, meditating and contemplating would be better than attending all those UBF meetings and conferences for decades, which honestly become repetitive and highly predictable. It also caused me to become habitual, legalistic and dependent on UBF and UBF functions for my Christian identity, often without realizing it. But I am really not angry or bitter about it, since I believe that I was pleasing God by being actively immersed, involved and actively participating in all UBF functions and activities without missing any. Regarding UBF, I might have what is termed FOMO: Fear Of Missing Out. Thankfully, not any more.
Is there a fallout by being totally involved with UBF 24/7 for almost three decades of my life? Without a doubt, I lost touch and lost contact with countless old friends, and hurt and wounded my family by giving my life to UBF campus mission, often at the expense of neglecting and not caring or understanding my own parents, my only sibling, an elder brother, relatives and many old friends. Last month, while in Malaysia I met a first cousin whom I last met 51 years ago!
Let me conclude with a question for your consideration: Is there a healthier and/or better way to seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness?