The Most Important Thing

In the Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment, Jeremiah Burroughs (c1600-1646) writes,

Before, the soul sought after this and that, but now it says, I see that it is not necessary that I should have pardon of my  sin; it is not necessary that I should have honor and preferment, but it is necessary that I should have God as my portion, and have my part in Jesus Christ, it is necessary that my soul should be saved in the day of Jesus Christ. The other things are pretty fine indeed, and I should be glad if God would give me them, a fine house, and income, and clothes, and advancement for my wife and children: these are comfortable things, but they are not the necessary things; I may have these and yet perish forever, but the other is absolutely necessary . . .

What are the things that disquiet us here but some by-matters in this world? And it is because our hearts are not taken up with the one absolutely necessary thing. Who are the men who are most discontented, but idle persons, persons who have nothing to occupy their minds? Every little thing disquiets and discontents them; but in the case of a man who has business of great weight and consequence, if all things go well with his great business which is in his head, he s not aware of meaner things in the family.

On the other hand a man who lies at home and has nothing to do finds fault with everything. So it is with the heart: when the heart of a man has nothing to do, but to be busy about creature-comforts, every little thing troubles him; but when the heart is taken up with the weighty things of eternity, with the great things of eternal life, the things of here below that disquieted it before tare things now of no consequence to him in comparison with the other – how things fall out here is not much regarded by him, if the one thing that is necessary is provided for (36-37).

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