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Every World Series has its memorable moments, but the 1989 World Series will always have a distinctive claim to fame. The game was being played in Candlestick Park in San Francisco. And you might remember, in the third inning, the ground suddenly started shaking – an earthquake hit the stadium! People began to flee, the players quickly left the field, and many suddenly only cared about one thing – whether the people they loved were safe. The Giants catcher, Terry Kennedy, was living his dream that day. He was playing in the World Series. But suddenly, in one redefining moment, that changed. When a sportscaster inquired about his reaction to the quake, that catcher summed it up pretty well. He said, “Sure does change your priorities, doesn’t it?”

I’m Ron Hutchcraft, and I want to have A Word With You today about “Life’s Two Columns.”

I was talking recently with some friends whose church and home were basically wiped out from floods that were caused by a hurricane. We concluded that disasters have a way of suddenly dividing your life into two distinct columns: the things that really matter and the things that really don’t. The problem is, that until a disaster hits, we tend to have them all in one list; all of it seems to matter. The hard times are God’s reminder that a lot of it really doesn’t.

That church lost its sanctuary, its pews, its piano, its sound system, its hymn books – basically everything. The next Sunday they were holding their service on the field up the road from their church building, but the real Church had been untouched by the flood. They were out there praising God together in that field. Yeah, their props were all gone and it hurt. It would be a struggle to restore what they had lost, but they had not lost the things that really matter!

The Apostle Paul understood life’s two columns. He talked about everything being in one of two categories in our word for today from the Word of God in 2 Corinthians 4:8. He talked about how hard hit he and his associates had been. He said, “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” They were unsinkable. You know why? Because they understood the difference between the stuff that matters and the stuff that doesn’t.

Paul’s troubles didn’t defeat him or discourage him because he’d figured out the difference between what matters and what doesn’t. The things that matter are the things that last – they’re eternal. And those are the things you can never lose. If you keep your focus on those things, you can be knocked down but you can’t be knocked out.Paul says, “We do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles” – did you get that? “Our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”

Don’t wait for a disaster for you to see life’s two columns. Make your list now, and you’ll make much better decisions; you’ll have priorities that you’ll never regret. After the smoke clears, there are things that seem so important that really aren’t – your earth-stuff, your positions, your business, your career, people’s approval, even your house, or your wardrobe. Many people have lost all of that and realized they still had the things that really matter, the things that last.

If you’re going through a time of loss right now, would you please focus on the really important things that you’ve not lost. And if your hard time is somewhere out there in the future, this is the time to make sure you’re giving your best to that short list of lasting treasures. They are meant to be life’s non-negotiables.