What could possibly be lacking in Christ’s afflictions? Didn’t Jesus say from the cross, “It is finished”? Hasn’t he done everything necessary to save us? How did Paul’s suffering and sacrifice for the gospel have any effect on what Jesus has already done for us?
Many years ago at The Summit Church, there was a group of people who said, “Jesus and his mission will be first.” But here’s what happens: When churches like ours get big and “settled,” so to speak, they experience a natural inertia. Within a generation, they move from mission to maintenance. They go from being reckless in the mission to being comfortable in the institution.
If we feel slighted by a meal in which we were only a secondhand thought, imagine how Jesus must feel when we give him our leftovers, when our giving reflects that our treasure lies with something other than him. Jesus does not deserve our leftovers. He deserves the first place in everything. What gets the first and best of your treasures?
Receiving an invitation to a meal is an honor because eating with someone is one of the most intimate connections you can make with other people. A meal together is fellowship. It’s engagement. It’s acceptance. Jesus Christ has extended to you an invitation to his banquet. Wouldn’t that invitation overrule everything else going on in your life—everything on the earth?
If it’s crossing your mind that you can climb the ladder in your workplace, then you have skills that could transform entire communities in the poorer parts of the world. The skills and resources to end most poverty are already in the church. The next step is for you to decide how you can use what you have and where God has placed you to make an eternal difference and benefit those most in need.
Jesus is first. He is the Creator of everything, the template on which it was made, and the one for whom it was made. He is not one of many beautiful things God has created—not even, as many other religions claim, the most beautiful and powerful being God created. No, Jesus is the creating force and purpose behind it all.