When Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the largest Southern Baptist Church in the world, was preaching in the North Shore Baptist Church in Chicago, he was entertained at the home of deacon James L. Kraft, who was superintendent of the Sunday School also founder of Kraft Foods, Inc. Mr. Kraft told that as a young man, he had a desire to be the most famous manufacturer and salesman of cheese in the world. His plan was to become rich and famous by making and selling cheese.
As a young fellow he began his business with a little buggy pulled by a pony named Paddy. After making his cheese, he would load his wagon, then he and Paddy would drive down the streets of Chicago selling it. As the months passed, young Kraft began to despair because he was not making any money in-spite of his long hours and hard work.
One day he pulled his pony to a stop and began talking to him: “Paddy, there is something wrong. We are not doing it right. I am afraid we have things turned around and our priorities are not where they ought to be. Maybe we ought to serve God and place Him first in our lives.” Kraft then drove home and made a covenant that for the rest of his life he would serve God first then work as God directed.
Mr. Kraft started tithing the little he had to his church. Now many years later, Dr. Criswell heard James Kraft declare, “I would rather be a layman in the North Shore Baptist Church than to head up the largest corporation in America. My first job is to serve Jesus.” Today his business is impacting the world.
When we put God first, in reality, we are putting ourselves first. When we put God last we are actually putting ourselves last. Our potential is stymied. Jesus made an eye-opening truth: “So don’t worry at all about having enough food and clothing. Why be like the heathen? For they take pride in all these things and are deeply concerned about them. But your heavenly Father already knows perfectly well that you need them and He will give them to you if you give Him first place in your life and live as He wants you to” (Living Bible, Matthew 6:31-33).
Mr. James Kraft learned a valuable lesson early on. Many never get a clue. They think that life centers on them. One of the most messed up people of our time, yet esteemed as the highest paid athlete of his generation, having $400 million in his possession then in 2003 filing bankruptcy, is Mike Tyson. He states he was foolish and self-centered. His attitude was wrong and now he has much of nothing. He discovered that when you put yourself first you are putting yourself last. Tyson said he was looking for a job.
There is no lasting joy like putting Jesus first, others second, and yourself last: J.O.Y. When we give to God first and then to others we are setting ourselves up for great blessings. By living God’s way, a whole new world emerges before us and it is always right! For more info you can visit us at www.JoyChristianMinistries.com
Pastor J.C. Myers, III
Pastor J.C. founded Joy Christian Ministries in 1992. He was Sr. Pastor at Joy Christian Ministries in West Sacramento, California from 1992-2016. He was succeeded by his 2nd son, Pastor Brandon Myers who had been under his father's ministry and teaching for 39 years.