I grew up in the Tom Landry era of the Dallas Cowboys. When he was hired for the expansion team in 1960 they had little prospect for success. After going winless in their first season, Landry told the team his priorities were God, family and football, in that order. Bob Lilly, who had just joined the team as the All American recruit from TCU said to himself, “We will never win.” Under Landry they went on to appear in 5 Super Bowl games, winning two. His 20 playoff wins is second most in NFL history.
I heard Tom Landry speak at the Billy Graham Crusade when Texas Stadium was built. He described his emptiness when he achieved each of his career goals as a star running back for the University of Texas and all-pro defensive back for the NY Giants. He quoted Augustine, “Our hearts are restless indeed, O God, until they find their rest in Thee.” A year before he became the first coach of the Dallas Cowboys, he came to faith in Christ and gave God first place in his life.
Similarly, Jordan Spieth at 24 has already won three major golf championships. When asked about his priorities he said, “My faith, then my family and then, after that, you know, this is what I love to do. Golf is not number 1 in my life.”
Our oldest son had difficulty “launching” when he grew up. His first semester in college he passed racquet ball. It was the only course he attended. His second semester he was on probation. It was a struggle, for him and for us.
During this time I told him he needed to put God first in his life. “If you put God first,” I said, “everything else will come into focus.” His response wasn’t immediate. It took several years, including boot camp in the Marine Corps. But he followed through and put God first. Everything else came into focus. Today he is a wonderful husband and father of three teen-agers, leads a Bible study for high school youth and has a successful career in Information Technology.
The first of the Ten Commandments is God’s invitation for us to know Him. “You shall have no other gods before me.” This is amazing. The creator of the universe wants to have a personal relationship with us in which He alone takes first place. If He is not first in our life, He is not God. Everything starts here. Life comes into focus when God becomes the priority of our life.
Sometimes we are drawn away from God by personal pleasures and the pursuit of sin. Sometimes we are drawn away by things that simply make us too busy for God. We think we know what is best and we pursue our goals and dreams without taking time to submit those goals and dreams to God.
In His sermon on the mount Jesus addressed the fragmented life that is filled with worry and anxiety. He said, “Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:33).