First Things First


Howard Rutledge, a United States Air Force pilot, was shot down over North Vietnam during the early stages of the war. In his book In the Presence of Mine Enemies Rutledge describes what he learned about life:

“During those longer periods of enforced reflection it became so much easier to separate the important from the trivial, the worthwhile from the waste. For example, in the past, I usually worked or played hard on Sundays and had no time for church. For years Phyllis [his wife] had encouraged me to join the family at church. She never nagged or scolded – she just kept hoping. But I was too busy, too preoccupied, to spend one or two short hours a week thinking about the really important things.

“Now the sights and sounds and smells of death were all around me. My hunger for spiritual food soon outdid my hunger for a steak. Now I wanted to know about that part of me that will never die. Now I wanted to talk about God and Christ and the church. But in Heartbreak [the name POWS gave their prison camp] solitary confinement, there was no pastor, no Sunday-School teacher, no Bible, no hymnbook, no community of believers to guide and sustain me. I had completely neglected the spiritual dimension of my life. It took prison to show me how empty life is without God.”

Life is about the choices we make and putting God first should be our highest priority. With that foundation, life becomes LIFE – now and forever.

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