The Right Priority: People

The Right Priority: People

Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.
–Proverbs 27:17

Successful people embrace the right priority in life, and that is people. Significant people build their lives around other people.

When Amy and I were in high school, we had an assistant principal named Ernest Kelly. Mr. Kelly had a great question that he would ask students just randomly as he would see them in the hall to help them determine what their vocation should be. He would ask this question: “Tell me, which do you like best, working with things or working with people?” That’s a pretty good question, especially for a student. Well, if Elijah had been asked that question, he wouldn’t have hesitated for a moment. His answer would be people. Elijah believed that people mattered.

One day, everything in this world is going to be burned up. In 2 Peter 3, the apostle Peter said that before the new heaven and new earth, everything is going to be destroyed. The only thing that lasts for eternity are people. Did you know everybody is going to live forever? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a Christian, a Buddhist, a Muslim, or an atheist. Everybody lives forever. Some people live forever in heaven enjoying the blessings of Christ. The majority of people will live forever in hell separated from God. All people last forever. That’s why a legacy that counts for eternity is one that is built around investing in the lives of other people.

One of my mentors in life was Dr. Howard Hendricks from Dallas Theological Seminary, who is now in heaven. Before he started teaching at the seminary, Prof had a short stint as a pastor of a small church in Fort Worth, but it didn’t last long. I asked him one time, “Prof, why did you give up being a pastor?” He said, “It’s simple. I got tired of refereeing who could and couldn’t have a key to the church kitchen, and life’s too short for that.” I have a feeling there’s another reason. He understood that the best way to leave a legacy that lasts would be to influence the influencers, to teach and train preachers. And when you look over his forty-plus years of teaching, some of the people who came through his classes and claimed him as a model of ministry include Tony Evans, David Jeremiah, Chuck Swindoll, and Bruce Wilkinson. There is no telling how many millions of lives were influenced because of Prof Hendricks’s faithfulness in investing in people.

I do not think it is an accident that Elijah spent his final day on earth with the people who would carry on his legacy–Elisha and the sons of the prophets. He used his limited time intentionally investing in other people.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Leaving a Legacy That Lasts” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2017.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.