A Lesson In Priorities From Uganda

Pastor Paul Witkop

Click to read more about Paul Witkop

By Paul Witkop –

This summer, my family and I along with several other friends spent two months in rural villages in Uganda. We went with an excellent compassion organization called Hope4Kids. Our goal was to meet new friends in Uganda and discover ways to help. We knew that Uganda is one of the 20 poorest countries in the world. There is significant poverty. Many live in mud huts, drink contaminated water and live each day hungry. Incredible numbers of children have been orphaned by war and disease.

Yet, with all these challenges, we met some of the most humble, respectful, kind, happy, generous and welcoming people. In the villages that we visited and the people we were blessed to meet, we encountered thankful faith-filled people…not people obsessed with asking for handouts. We met new friends who were genuinely interested in us as people and how they could get to know us better. Though they struggle with so many of the basics of life, they have kind of contentment that I found enviable. They have a grasp on what is most important.

How do we determine what is most important in life? Jesus told us a rather sobering and direct story to help us with this question. There is a wealthy man whose business was very successful. He asked himself, “What should I do for I don’t have enough space to store my goods?” In other words, God is blessing him with a business that made him a lot of money – so much he doesn’t know what to do with all of it. Then he says, “Here’s what I’ll do. I’ll tear down my storage units and I’ll build larger ones. Then I’ll say to myself, ‘I have so many good things stored up for me. Now rest, eat, drink and be merry.”’ But God said to him, “You fool. This night your life will be demanded of you and then to whom will all your things belong?” This is the way it will be for anyone who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.

That illustration is a sobering one to hear, especially for so many of us who have so much when compared with most of the world. Jesus is challenging us to order our lives around what matters to God, what God believes is most important. In another passage, Jesus tells us that love is what truly matters to God. We can have lots of possessions, we can be very educated, we can speak well, we can believe great truths, we can even be generous…but we are reminded that unless we have love as our motivation, none of these things matter at all to God.

From the very beginning of the Bible, we discover that we are blessed to be a blessing to others. We are called to be messengers of love, truth and encouragement to others, both in our family and those outside of our family. Our greatest calling will be is to inspire and love others to realize their God-given potential. When we love someone with the love that God has first given us, that person will most likely be inspired to love someone too.

As we enter into the busy holiday season, take time to count your blessings and then to love, encourage and inspire those around you. This is what matters to God. As you do, the most amazing thing will happen – you will be blessed and encouraged, too.

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