Putting First things First


Most parents mean to do well for their children. Parents wish and dream great things for their children. Parents hope that their children will become more successful than they have been. To bring about success in life, most parents will do a good job of feeding the child a balanced, nutritious diet. Most parents buy good clothes for their children and call the doctor before the child is seriously ill. Parents desire their children to have every educational advantage and often make long-range plans to make such dreams financially possible. When parents discover a special talent in a child, usually they make a real effort to cultivate that talent, and again, they will often go to considerable expense and sacrifice to do so. But here is an inconsistency – in the matter of the soul. In the matter of soul education, not many parents exhibit much interest.


There is an old saying that says, “First things first.” This is a good proverb – the most important things should be given top priority. Yet as citizens of this great country, we are more concerned with how our children look to our neighbors than how they look to God. We are more concerned with the condition of the sole of his shoe than with the most valuable possession the child has, namely, that which is eternal in him – his SOUL.


Religion is the body and substance of life.  Christianity makes life meaningful. Faith in Jesus Christ saves (Ephesians 2:8-9). The Word of God develops nobility of soul and God-pleasing behavior. Much less important, the tail of life – the physical and the materialistic values – influences the real person much more than is right. Jesus said that first of all we should seek the Kingdom of God (Matthew 6:33), and the physical things will be taken care of. Truly the tail wags the dog. It should not be the case, but it is.


Life is a big display window with a lot of desirable and undesirable items shown. A price tag is on each. From God’s point of view, which we know from the Bible, someone has gotten into the window and changed things all around. Valuable things are priced cheap, and unimportant – even hurtful – things are marked very expensive. Now somewhere, the idea has gotten out that because things are expensive, therefore they are valuable. Nothing could be further from the truth.

A clear case in point is Christianity. True religion, the only solution to this world’s problem, is marked down to such a low figure that it seems hardly worth reaching for. Many think of it as a leisure-time activity like card-playing or golf. Others think that it is only for the very young and the very old – the strong, self-sufficient people do not need it.


If you want to do the best possible thing for your children, bring them to Christ and keep them with HIM. There is not a child in the world who would not be proud and happy to have his parents attend the same church with him. The child knows all too well that if religion is not good enough for the parents to participate in, it is not worth much.

The mark of the parents’ religious life is on the child. By putting first things first, the soul of the child may be as strong and robust as that healthy little body. With Christian training, the soul will become even stronger and healthier than the body and mind.

First things first. Enroll your children in a school that cares about the soul, that will go to great lengths to instruct your children in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18). At the same time, do what is best for your own soul – plan to attend Church, where you will learn how Jesus your Savior has already put you and your children first.

Adapted from a pamphlet by the American Lutheran Publicity Bureau.