RS: Before we start, I do want to read to you something that he sent out. John contracted pancreatic cancer sometime in early 2009, and he battled it, valiantly, for about a year and a half. Three months before he died, this was January 30, 2010, he sent this out, I think this was on his Caring Bridge, and what he says in here is pertinent to what we’re going to talk about. He said, “I had a CT scan on Thursday and we met with the doctor later that afternoon. We got a mixed report, but overall, we are encouraged. The tumor on the pancreas has shrunk and is putting out fewer secretions; however, the cancer has spread to the liver with eight or so new lesions showing up on the scan. In short, the doctor said that surgery is out, cure is not possible, but control is. I will continue on the same chemo schedule once a week for three weeks, then a week off. In addition, today, I began a new chemo and I take a pill daily. Statistics have shown that the combination of these two chemos to be effective in treating pancreatic cancer that has spread to the liver. I’ll have another CT scan in two months to see how I’m responding. The doctor said he expects my quality of life to be good. When I asked about life expectancy, he said he had learned with great humility not to try to predict things like that. However, we talked of controlling the cancer in terms of several years, not several months, but…” John lived about another three months after this. He says, “Thursday morning it occurred to me to read in Matthew, Mark, and Luke’s recordings of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Although their versions are slightly different, each records Jesus’ praying Father if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me. Yet, not My Will, but Your Will be done. Then, using Jesus’ very words, I prayed each version in a prayer back to God, all end with Jesus’ submission to the Father’s Will. And so, each of my prayers ended with my submission to His Will. I am experiencing an incredible peace, comfort, and strength, all which come from the Lord, being in that position of submission. I am in His Hands, and all is well.”
I wanted to share that with you because he talks about God’s Will, and you’re going to see that’s part of what we’re going to look at in Romans chapter 12. So, if you would, turn to Romans 12, and we’re going to look at two verses, really, the first two verses. Romans 12:1-2. Dan, I’ll let you read that, but give everybody a second to get there.
Dan: “Therefore, I urge you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship, and do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”
RS: Thank you. What I want to do is to consider some of the issues that Paul is raising here. In verse 1, he talks about presenting your bodies, and the word “present” is a Greek word “paristemi”, which means, “to put at one’s disposal”. That word body is the Greek word “soma”, which means “your body, your personhood, your very being.” So, what Paul is saying is that we are called to give and put at God’s disposal our very lives, and so the question I want to look at this morning is, is that true of my life? Am I at God’s disposal seeking to live for Him and to be in the center of His Will or do I see God out there, He is at my disposal, to give me what, and unfortunately, that’s the way a lot of people see God and see Christianity. God is kind of there to give me what I want, and we need to see it in different terms. That my life is His, and it is at His disposal. I’m here to be used by Him. And then He talks about this idea of being a living sacrifice. Now, over the years, I have shared, in fact some of you will remember it, but I have shared a great definition of sacrifice.
Unidentified audience member: You mean an example?
RS: No, the definition. It’s the forfeiture, or giving up, of something highly valued for the sake of something of greater value. That’s a great definition, and if you think through it, it has purpose to it. You’re forfeiting something of great value to you, but you do it for something of even greater value. And when you get, and understand, sacrifice, it changes everything. I don’t know if I ever told this, but back in my insurance days, we had these big meetings and we would bring in a big speaker, and we were down in South Florida somewhere, I don’t remember where it was, and Lou Holtz was the keynote speaker. Ya’ll know Lou Holtz, Dr. Lou? Everybody know who Lou Holtz is? Well, Dr. Lou was up there talking about, he was trying to apply football to business success, and he says, you’ve got to, to really be successful, you’ve got to sacrifice. And he goes through and he tells all these great stories about great players who sacrificed, but he never really gave a definition of sacrifice, and I thought, you know, he might like my definition. So, when he’s done, I go up to him and I talk to him, and I said, I’ve got a great definition of sacrifice that you might be interested in, and I gave it to him, and I’m sitting there waiting for him to say you know that’s really great, you know, could you write that down for me? Dr. Lou looked at me like, buddy, what do you know about sacrifice? He says, I’m Dr. Lou. And when we were finished, I thought, I am never, never going to go up and tell a speaker what to do, because he didn’t like it at all. But it’s a great definition, he ought to use it. He needs to use it.
(Chatter and laughter)
RS: Anyway, take that definition and think about its application to what Paul is saying in verse 1. He’s saying in the Christian life, to come to Christ, you’re forfeiting your life and your will for something of much greater value. And that is God’s Will. His plan for your life. And what did we learn in verse 2 about God’s will? It is good, it is well-pleasing, and it is perfect. The problem we have though, guys, and let’s be honest about this, most of us don’t like that word sacrifice. It seems to have negative connotations to it. Now, this is not a culture, the culture we live in, this is not a culture that’s into sacrificing. It sounds so negative. We’re nothing like the Great generation. Think about all that was sacrificed, back during World War II. We don’t think in terms of sacrificing today, because we see it in negative terms. And what happens, this is what happens. We confuse it with the idea of deprivation. We think they’re kind of the same. I’ve just got to deprive myself of something. Give up something. There’s nothing really in it for me. We need to understand, there’s a huge difference between deprivation and sacrifice. There’s a woman by the name of Mary Hunt who wrote some great words on this. Let me read it to you, and then I’ll stop and see if you have any comments. She says, “Budgets, diets and New Years resolutions must top the list of things most likely to fail in a person’s life. No wonder, because each of them spells deprivation and deprivation feels terrible. You know, we can handle it only for short periods of time before we simply cave in and give up. Emotions and desires can be so powerful that they overcome any good sense and render any potential change completely out of the question. But you can control your emotions.” She says, “What I have learned is that I can replace my fear of deprivation with the joy of sacrifice. I’ve learned to harness my powerful emotions, turning them into my ally instead of my enemy and I purposely set out to embrace sacrifice and reject all feelings of deprivation. Sacrifice means to give up something of value for the sake of something else that is more important or more worthy. Deprivation means to have a possession or enjoyment just taken away from you.” She says, “Once I learned the startling difference between the two concepts, I understood immediately why meaningful change kept eluding me and it eludes others. When it gets right down to it, sacrifice is a very beautiful concept. It involves purpose. It acknowledges a goal that is more worthy and of greater value than the sacrifice itself. There is no deprivation, simply a choice to give up something of lesser value now in order to have or achieve something far more worthy, particularly in the future.” Any comments or questions on this? Are you with me on what I just said?
RS: What you’re going to find, guys, is that in the Christian life, there are often things that you, as you grow in wisdom and maturity, that you realize I need to eliminate this from my life just because it’s wise and good. But, I want to talk about two areas of life that I think we really struggle with. I don’t know how many of you heard this said, but if you really want to know what a person’s life is really all about, what’s really important to them, all you need to do is look at two things. What are those two things?
(Multiple answers/responses from audience members)
RS: Checkbook and calendar. That’s it. How you spend your time and how you spend your money. Like I told Dan, I know I’m going to meddle a little bit in your life, particularly when I start talking about your money. But you know, that’s part of my job, to meddle.
Unidentified audience member: Talk to John about that.
Unidentified audience member: What if you don’t have any?
RS: Have any what, money or time? Well, I won’t be meddling with you then.
Unidentified audience member: I’m safe.
RS: Anyway, think about that. There’s a lot of truth in it. Look at that. How do you spend your time? And what do you do with your money? We’re going to look at both of those. When it comes to time…Sorry about that, yes, Bill?
Bill: This kind of goes back. In the NIV, it says you’ll be able to test and approve what God’s will is. What’s the test and approve portion of that?
RS: That’s a good question. I think basically, as you become a living sacrifice, as you really surrender, you’ll begin to discern what His will is, and you will see what you’ll find over time, when you’re in the center of God’s will, you’ll find that it’s good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Bill: So, the test is not a destination?
RS: No, No, No. It’s kind of like you’re testing it to determine and finding that, and, as you do, you’re finding that it’s true and good and well-pleasing and perfect.
Bill: Thank you.
RS: Yes sir. When it comes to time, this is where the problem is. How much time are we willing to give to God, not only to spend time with Him, but particularly in ministering to other people? You see, it requires time to do that. Where we have learned this, and seen this, and it is a sacrifice of time, is what Jimbo does in the prisons. The Prison Ministry. Now he needs men to go in there, and lead small groups, and they read and go through the book, The True Measure of a Man . And some of you may have participated, and I know he’s grateful. But the problem we run into is a lot of men don’t want to give up that much time, because you really have to sacrifice an evening once a week for 8-10 weeks. But I guarantee you, a guy yesterday morning, sitting right where Dan is, he went recently, he gave up a week of his time, as a parent, to go to a mission trip in Washington, DC with, any of ya’ll familiar with Big Time Ministries , it’s over at Mountain Brook Junior High? He didn’t want to go, but his son was going and they needed another parent, and so he went. He said I went begrudgingly, But when he came back he said it was one of the greatest weeks of my whole life. It changed me. You see, that’s, he sacrificed of great value, a week of his life. But he says the value of what he got out of it, I can’t measure. And that’s what happens.
You know, I just read an interesting piece from a wise older Christian man, and we could probably have an interesting lively conversation if I asked the question, why is our culture so lost and messed up? What do you think are the reasons? I bet we could come up with a host of ideas, don’t you think? This guy said something interesting. He says, I believe why our culture is so messed up and lost is because Christians and the church, which have had a huge influence in our history, but, today, Christians and the church are being so ineffective. We are no longer being salt and light in the culture. We think that I can be passively good and it will make a difference. And I think he may be right. I wouldn’t put all the blame there, but I think there is some truth to that. When Christians and the church are salt and light, they get out and they impact the culture, and I wonder have we lost our influence.
Back in 1977, I lived in Atlanta in the fall of ’76 and the spring of ’77, and it was funny, I was telling my wife, and it was, the fall of ’76, that’s what, 40 years ago? It was, the Olympics were going on, and the only way I could communicate with anybody was my landline in this little garage apartment, just shows you how things have changed, and I had a black and white television, and I had three stations, and I did get to watch the Olympics, and I got to watch the debates between Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. But, it just shows you how things have changed as far as the way things are communicated today. But, in the spring of ’77, Francis Shaeffer came to Atlanta. Some of you won’t know who Francis Shaeffer is, he’s been dead probably 20 or 30 years, but he was one of the great Christian scholars of all time. He lived in Switzerland and he ran a ministry called L’Abri , and basically, people who were in search for God and in search for spiritual truth, particularly very bright people would go and they would stay there, and they would work during the day and then they would have discussions at night. Scores of people became Christians through his ministry. He wrote a number of books, but his most famous book is called How We Should Then Live. What he did, it was ten chapters in the book, and it was about Western Civilization, and it was a really good book, but in it, they had made a film of each chapter, and it was a two day seminar, and it was at the Atlanta Civic Center, and it was packed, and he would answer, basically, you would watch a film, and he would take questions from the audience. And it was very powerful and I share that because Shaeffer was kind of a prophet. He says I fear what I see coming, and basically what I see is two things happening in the church. And he called them “two impoverished values”. You know what’s interesting, both of these impoverished values have to do with the calendar and the checkbook, with our time and our money. He says, the first impoverished value, he called it “personal peace”. Now, that doesn’t sound like an impoverished value, but let me tell you, and read to you, what it was. He says, “Personal peace means just to be let alone, not to be troubled by the troubles of other people, whether across the world, across the city, or across the street. To live one’s life with minimal possibilities of being personally disturbed by other people. Personal peace means wanting to have my personal life pattern undisturbed in my lifetime, regardless of what the results will be in the lifetimes of my children, and my grandchildren.” And so, again, are we willing to give our time to invest, even if it’s just one person, because, guys, we are surrounded by people who are hurting either physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually. That’s why I say, begin to pray, ask God to open a door and provide me with somebody that you want me to help. But what he’s saying is, people, no, I don’t want to be disturbed. I don’t want to be bothered. If that is the way that the church approaches life, we’re in trouble. Now, the second impoverished value he says, is affluence. This is the way he described affluence. “It means an overwhelming and ever-increasing prosperity. A life made up of things, things, and more things. A success judged by ever higher level of material abundance.” This is a good place to stop and see if you have a question or comment. Anybody?
Unidentified audience member: Are you making a point on that first point you made about the church not going out and trying to help, do you think that’s occurred over the last 20 to 30 years?
RS: Well, let me put it this way. I think there are some churches that do a really good job at getting out and making a difference, and I think there are probably some that don’t.
Unidentified audience member: Are there personal peace churches?
RS: I think there probably are. And what happens is you get into a little holy huddle, and you’re all, and everything is focused inward and not focusing outward, and when the church, if the church ever gets to that point, that’s when we no longer have an influence on culture.
Unidentified audience member: You tell us the Michael Phelps story about reading The Purpose Driven Life. I mean, the first line of that book is, “It’s not about you.”
RS: Amen. Bob Buford, I want to spend some time, and this is where I go to meddling here, Buford says one area of our life that we have a hard time sacrificing in any way is our money and our lifestyle, and he says most people spend their money unfortunately, unwisely or frivolously, primarily, either to impress others, or just to spend it on our pleasures. And we’ve had some interesting conversations about this, and we met this morning, and yesterday morning, and I’m going to share this because I think it can be enlightening. We spent a lot of time talking about money back when we studied Ecclesiastes and Proverbs, and we’re not going to spend a whole bunch more time on it, but this could be, I think, of value. Take your money, your financial resources. You can divide them really into five areas. Five components. If you can break down where your money goes, into five, the first would be what we would call, the necessities of life. There are four basic necessities in our world today, to operate and to live your life. Food, Shelter, Clothing, and Transportation. In our economy, you’ve got to have transportation, would you not agree? Now the problem is, of course, it was so funny, somebody said yesterday, I think you ought to put insurance in there. I said why, and he said I spend more on insurance than anything. I’ve got a bunch of teenagers, I feel his pain. No, insurance goes under transportation and shelter. Insuring your car and insuring your home. That’s part of the deal. The problem is when necessities end up becoming status symbols. When my shelter becomes a status symbol. When my transportation becomes a status symbol. That’s when, if you’re not careful, you can get into trouble, trying to keep up with the Jones. Now the second is something that Jesus talks about from the Old Testament. You pay your taxes. Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and render to God the things that are God’s. Then you’ve got, and a number of you, your businesses revolve around that, we’ll call; it saving, or your can call it investing if you want, and saving is very Biblical. It’s about preparing for the future, and most people, in preparing for the future, have two things to prepare for, education of their kids, and retirement, when you can’t work anymore, you can’t earn a living anymore, you have to have something set aside for that. Then, the fourth is giving. And then you’ve got the fifth that is you spend your money on luxuries, those things that are over and above, luxuries and pleasures. Have I left anything out? Don’t you think pretty much everything falls under one of these categories? I share this because if you really want to figure out how you’re doing, and only you can do this, if you want to figure out how important your money is, figure out what percentages go to what. It will tell you a lot about yourself. You know what? If you really want to do it, it’s not hard, pull out your tax return. You can figure out all your income, you can probably get all your giving, you can get your taxes off of it, and then you can find out. And it really will help you figure out where everything is going and what’s important to you. Now, in this book that I’m working on, there is a part, I’ll just tell you real quick what it’s on, it’s about wisdom, the search for wisdom, and I’ve taken what I consider twelve of the most strategic areas of a person’s life and I have four or five short essays on each one of them. And one of them is on financial wisdom. And one of the great resources that I used, and my son has read it because I suggested it to him, and it’s called The Millionaire Next Door . Anybody ever read it? It’s really, really a good book, but one of the things you find, and one of the things you find, and I guess you could put debt up here, but the reason that so many people struggle financially is because of debt, and you know what it primarily is, debt, right here, in this number five. And the other thing, and this isn’t from the book, but this is what I’ve learned, that it’s amazing how many people give away almost nothing. They give almost nothing. In fact, I was talking to a guy who was head of stewardship, it’s a really fine church, he said you wouldn’t believe how many people give zero to the church. They’re members of the church and they give zero. And I’ve had several people say, you wouldn’t believe the number of people that live in my community and they usually are referring to Mountain Brook, and I don’t mean that in any way, it could be Vestavia or Homewood, but that have an unbelievable lavish lifestyle, but are broke. They have no money. They have a big income, but they have nothing. And what I’ve learned in all of this is everybody is very secretive about what they do with their money. It can be very deceptive. It really can. That was a great thing about The Millionaire Next Door is that some of the wealthiest people in our country, you’d look at their life, you’d never know it. Comments or questions? Well, the reason I share these thoughts on sacrifice and deprivation is that hopefully it will be helpful to you. The thought of I’m going to forfeit something that is of value to me, but I’m going to do it knowing that it’s for something of greater value. And I’m going to just say this, particularly when it comes to money, Jesus takes this very seriously. Nowhere does He ever condemn money. He warns us a lot about it, what it can do to us if we’re not careful, but He says, I’m looking for my people to be faithful with the resources that they’ve been given. To be good stewards with what they have, and that’s what we’re called to do and I’m going to just leave it at that, and we’re going to for the next 15 minutes, just look at verse 2. Questions or comments?
RS: Okay, in verse two, when it says do not be conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what the will of God is that which is good, acceptable, and perfect. The NIV says good, well pleasing and perfect. You seem to see this a lot in the scripture, either or. Paul seems to be saying either you are being conformed to this world, in other words, your life is indistinguishable, its not distinguishable, from the world that we live in, we’re just like everybody else in the world, or our lives are being transformed. We’re conforming to the world or we are being transformed. And, in Romans 8:29, it says, what does this transformation look like? We’re becoming more Christ-like. Both of these aren’t taking place at the same time. One of these two things – either you’re becoming more like the world, or you’re becoming more like Christ. Which is it. This seems to be – you see this in scripture a lot – it seems to be either / or. Ravi Zacharias believes this is a huge issue and if you’re not careful, it will easily keep you away from the truth. Now, I don’t know if you remember, we talked about back, I don’t know if it was in the Spring or in the Fall, but there are two types of logic. There is the either / or. This comes from Aristotle. A good way to understand either / or is, take a math problem. A hundred times a hundred, and it’s multiple choice. A is 1000, B is 10,000, C is 100,000. Can there be more than one answer? No. It’s either A or B or C. But then you have what’s called the both / and, and this is very modern. It’s kind of like we go to the Guggenheim Museum in New York, which is a museum of modern art, and you look at this painting, and you think that’s the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen, I can’t believe they call that art. And yet, Dan looks at it and says, that’s the most beautiful painting I’ve ever seen. This is the question. Is it a beautiful painting? You’ve got the either / or, and you’ve got the both / and, and there are certain areas of life where you have to use the either / or, like mathematics, but when it comes to the arts, you can use the both / and approach. You might think a movie is great and somebody else might think it’s not great. Is it a great movie? Why am I bringing this? What does this have to do with Romans 12:2?
Unidentified audience member: It’s an either / or proposition.
RS: That’s exactly right, and you know what, you see this throughout the scripture. God gives us a lot of either / or, and we want it to be both. For instance, Galatians 1:10. Are you seeking the favor of men or of God? If you’re still trying to seek the favor of men, you cannot be a bondservant of Christ. You can’t do both, is what he’s saying. You can’t seek to live your life to win man’s approval, and seek to live your life to win God’s approval. Let me put this another way. Do you think you could truly love and be devoted to two different women and have two wives? It’s hard enough being devoted to one. And the reason is, you just can’t do it. You can’t be completely devoted to one woman and try to be completely devoted to another one. I John chapter 2, verses 15 and 16, says, do not be in love with the world, or the things of the world. He says, because, if you love the world, then the love of the Father is not in you. It’s an either / or. Probably the most significant, and the one that we are most familiar with, is Matthew 6:24. Let’s look at that real quick.
Unidentified audience member: It would be interesting to have a test to see if we’re conforming to the world, or not. You could make a list of the things that fit.
RS: You could. You want to try to pull that one off for us? [Laughter]
Unidentified audience member: No, that’s why you’re here. [Laughter]
RS: All right. Matthew 6:24. Everybody there? Ben Patrick, how about reading that?
Ben: ” No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other; or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
RW: He said you can’t. But, you know what our problem is? What’s out problem? We think we can. We try to. We think we can serve them both. That’s why it’s either / or. What does Jesus say in Luke 11:23? He says either you are with me or what?
Unidentified audience member: Against me.
RS: Yeah. There’s no middle ground. We look for middle ground; isn’t there some way that I can be in the middle? I want to serve God a little bit here, but I really don’t want to over here, or I don’t want…I want balance in my Christian life. I think people think that way. I’ve been accused, you take this Christianity way too serious. I’m sitting there. How do you do that? You either love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind – how can you be too serious about it? Either / or. The Bible is saying – you know what it’s really saying – you can’t live with a divided heart. You really can’t. Revelations chapter 3, verses 15 and 16. Very significant as it relates to this. Turn to Revelations 3 real quick and we’re going to read verses 15 and 16. Mike, you want to read that for us?
Mike: ” I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”
RS: What’s that all about? What’s he saying?
Unidentified audience member: There is no middle ground.
RS: Yeah, he’s saying, I would rather you be hot, really on fire for God, or cold, just go ahead and reject me. But I can’t stand it when you’re lukewarm. I’ll spit you out of my mouth. The bottom line of all of this is scripture is saying, I think, that we believe that we can live with a divided heart. I can be lukewarm. I can straddle the fence. I can love God and love money. I can be devoted to both. He is saying, no, you really can’t. Your heart has one affection that is greater than all others. What’s that going to be? You can’t divide the heart when it comes to your supreme loyalty. I remember Drayton Nabers sharing, you know, Drayton was quite the scholar, he was agnostic, and yet, God began to kind of pull at him, and he’s got a great testimony, if you’ve never heard it. And, he finally decided, I was going to read the Bible from cover to cover. I feel like that is the best thing for me to do. And he said, he read it, and, as soon as he finished the book of Revelation, he put the book down, and he said, I felt like God was saying, either you’re with Jesus or you’re against Jesus. There is no middle ground. And he said, for him, I think what really got to him, was basically the thought of rejecting Him. And being against Him. He said that was not an alternative. That just was not an alternative for me. And that was when he became a Christian. Now, I think most of you will remember. It’s in the book, The True Measure of a Man , but I think it really illustrates what we’ve been talking about, and that is that what Bob Buford shared, the thing that changed his life. You know, Buford had built this media empire out in Texas, very, very wealthy guy, but he also felt called to start this ministry called Halftime Ministries , and which was instrumental in me leaving what I did to start this, and he couldn’t figure out how he was going to do it, and so he called in this famous business consultant. The guy wasn’t a Christian. He said, I wanted a clear thinker, so he brought him in and they met for a day. And he told him everything that was on his mind, told him all about his business, and finally, this guy’s name was Michael Kami, said Bob, before we can proceed, before I help you come up with a strategic plan for the rest of your life, we’ve got to determine one thing. What’s that one thing? Anybody remember?
Unidentified audience member: What’s in the box?
RS: What’s in the box? Remember that? He drew a box. Of course, Bob says, What’s the box? What are you talking about? What is that? He says, everybody has a box. In that box is your primary number one loyalty in all of life. And he said, listening to you describe your life, it boils down to one of two things. It’s either your business, which he put down a dollar sign, or your religious faith and what you want to attempt to do to help people. And he put down a cross. He said, you’ve got to figure out what’s first. It doesn’t mean that you’ve got to get rid of one, but what is going to be first. Buford said, nobody had ever asked me that before. He said he had to kind of scratch his head for a minute, and he said, well, if you’re going to put it that way, it’s got to be the cross. And he wrote the cross in there. And he said that changed everything for him. He didn’t sell his business, but he said it helped me figure out how to, I guess, in one sense, arrange my calendar. You know, how I was going to spend my time, between this new venture I was going to start, and the business I had. And so, I think this is significant to realize that every one of us at this table. We all have a box. And something is in that box. Something has my highest loyalty. And that’s the question we need to answer. What is that going to be? Now, I realize, this was brought up this morning. I would hope that every one of us would want Christ in that box. But that doesn’t’ mean sometimes He doesn’t slip out of the box and something replaces Him, but that’s going to be a battle as you live this life. But what you want to see is that the trend of your life is that He be in the box. Because, as C.S. Lewis says, once you get that right, it impacts the whole rest of your life. It’s kind of like we use the illustration of the wheel. He is supposed to be the hub, and then you’ve got all the spokes that go out from the hub. And those spokes are just the different areas of our lives. If you get the center right, if you get what’s in the box right, it impacts everything else that we do. In one sense, it pulls it all together and gives our lives coherence and meaning, and as someone says, that’s how you make sense out of life.