Monday, August 22, 2011

Change the Bottom Button

Have you ever been embarrassed by the discovery that the buttons on your coat or shirt were in the wrong holes because you missed the first button? I’ve had that experience more than once in my life. It is especially embarrassing when you are attending an important meeting or are being introduced to someone for the first time.

Have you ever had a similar experience in some of the important relationships in your life? Perhaps some of the great challenges in your life did not turn out right because you started out wrong. Maybe you got off on the wrong foot with your employer on your first day at work. Perhaps you don’t command the influence you would like or you don’t produce the results you should because you missed the first button. Perhaps you started out on the wrong foot with a neighbor and now you rarely speak to one another. It may be that your marriage is not satisfactory because you started out wrong. Your home relationships are not what they should be because earlier you made some serious mistakes and it is now difficult to overcome them.

It’s so easy to blame circumstances, or education, or society, even our in-laws, or just about anything else, isn’t it, for the mess we find ourselves in right now? One of the best ways to handle the messes we get ourselves into is to openly and honestly admit our mistakes. Come clean with our own conscience and with other people and seek to do right.

Jesus Christ made this promise, "But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be added to you" (Matt. 6:33). Now, that is the real answer to the problem; that’s starting out in the right button hole.

Long ago, king Solomon was invited by God to, "Ask what I shall give you." Solomon could have requested wealth, power, prestige, and honor among men. But, he asked for none of these. Instead, he asked that he might have an understanding heart that he might properly govern the people of Israel and discern between good and evil. It pleased God that Solomon had asked for this and he said to him, "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold I now do according to your word…I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days." Solomon started out right. He put God and others before himself.

That's the answer for you and me as well. In order for us to start out right so that we can end up right, we must put God first. Doing so will make us better employees, better neighbors and friends, better husbands and wives, and better children.

The wonderful thing about serving God is that we may mess up and get "our buttons" out of order, but we can start all over and he will help us get it right. We can never exhaust his grace or diminish his love for us. He is willing to forgive and help us start anew.

It's amazing what can happen when we make God the priority of our lives! Seek his way, his wisdom, and his strength – FIRST! No matter how tangled or twisted or complicated our lives become, things have a way of turning out much better when we put God in the first button-hole.

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