Ad Spot

First things first

By Philip Goad / For Franklin Living

When someone mentions the late Bobby Bowden, it is normal to associate his name with Florida State football – a highly successful program under his leadership. He also, however, played baseball during his college days.

One day he smashed a troublesome “extra bases” line drive against Auburn. As he approached third, the third base coach was waving him home and encouraging him to hurry! Coach Bowden beat the throw, and as he touched home plate, the team exploded in celebration. However, Auburn’s first baseman yelled for the catcher to throw him the ball. When the first baseman touched first base, the umpire yelled, “Out!”

While running the bases, Bobby Bowden never touched first base!

During his coaching career, Coach Bowden turned his baserunning blunder into a powerful illustration – one that has application for both athletics and life in general. He would tell his players, “If you don’t take care of first base, it doesn’t matter what you do.” His point: A person’s priorities matter.

The most important things must always be addressed first if success is to be achieved. Priorities can mean the difference between arriving on time versus being late. Priorities can mean the difference between enjoying leisure time versus working overtime. Priorities are often the difference between winning and losing.

“First things first” is a concept that is rich with spiritual application. Proverbs 1:7 states, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. Fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Respect for the Lord must be foundational for any person who wants to possess true wisdom.

In other words, I don’t understand anything until I understand that respect for God is the one priority that must define my life!

Productive self-examination requires determining whether everything about our lives is consistent with a healthy fear of God Almighty, and it’s not about what we say we believe: It is revealed through our actions and decisions.

Solomon does something in Proverbs 1:7 that most of us don’t like. He states we will either be the kind of people who fear God and find true wisdom, or we will be fools. He tells us we will either be one or the other. He leaves no middle ground.

Is your relationship with God your first priority? According to Scripture, coming to the Lord on his terms is the only way to possess real wisdom.