Mastering Our Midnights – By Russell V. DeLong

Chapter 23

Are You Majoring in Minors?

Scripture: Philippians 3:12, 13; Matthew 6: 33; Matthew 16:26

One of the great dangers of our fast, modern tempo is that we will become so occupied

with incidentals, nonessentials, and minors that we shall neglect the fundamentals, essentials, and majors.

It is not enough to be busy or to be active or to be alive. We must be busy for a purpose,

active for a cause, and living for an ideal.

A person riding a merry-go-round and whirling a hundred times travels three miles but he gets nowhere. He merely takes a ride for the ride’s sake. In reality, he is taken for a ride.” For millions of people, life is one continuous merry-go-round — going but never arriving — moving, but nowhere.

There are other millions who are preoccupied with the incidentals of life and allow the

essentials to slip away. Such are “penny wise but pound foolish.” They save a dime and lose a dollar.

Others spend so much time and energy on nonessential things that they lose the fundamental items of value. Such keep the peelings and throw away the banana or potato or apple; or, to use another figure of speech, they keep the shells and throw the pearls back.

In brief, such persons are majoring on minors. Everyone majors in something. Some

interest or project or activity becomes one’s primary concern. It is his major even though it may be minor.

A well-known nursery rhyme conveys the truth of this sermon

“Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?

I’ve been to London to see the queen.

Pussy cat, pussy cat, what did you there?

I frightened a little mouse under a chair.”

Poor little pussy cat started out to see the queen but instead merely saw a mouse. Too many people start out with worthy ideals and noble ambitions but end up chasing mice, killing mosquitoes, executing gnats, or exterminating bats. They major on minors. For them the little thing becomes big, the means becomes the end, or the incidental becomes the essential.

Here is a talented young man who has the ability to become an outstanding surgeon, but he is too wrapped up in burning the midnight gasoline to have a good time rather than burning the midnight oil in preparation for a life of usefulness. He is majoring on minors.

Here is a woman with outstanding qualities for leadership but she has so many little things to do — card parties, dances, and the like — majoring on minors.

Here is a minister who could be a spiritual giant in leading a needy flock to the green

pastures of inner satisfaction but he is obsessed with some nonessential — fiddling on one string — majoring on minors.

Here is a young woman who could be a leader of youth toward the high plateaus of moral

achievement but she is flitting her time away like a butterfly in one little episode of fleeting pleasure after another — majoring on minors.

After all, what is the major thing in life?

Is it my body and the satiation of its sensuous demands for pleasures and thrills?

Is it my mind and its desire for knowledge?

Is it my social self and its craving for friendship and fellowship?

Is it my position in society and its resultant place of influence and prestige?

Is it my ambitious desire for power?

Is it my abnormal urge for popularity and wide social approval?

No, all of these are minors.

The number one fact of my entire personality is that I am a spirit possessing a body and a

mind, and living in a social environment. I have appetites, instincts, desires, and emotions. When I major on my body or my mind or on the satisfaction or satiation of any appetite or instinct or desire, I am majoring on minors.

What should be the major concern of every person?

The welfare of his soul and its relationship to God. Everything else is incidental,

nonessential, and minor.

The wisest man who ever lived said: “Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is

the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil” (Eccles. 12: 13, 14).

St. Paul proclaimed: “This one thing I do . . . I press toward the mark for the prize of the

high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3: 13, 14).

Jesus commanded: “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matt. 6: 33).

In other words, Solomon, St. Paul, and Jesus are agreed in saying, “Seek the majors, and

the minors will be added.”

Seek the all-important, necessary, essential major and the needful, desirable minors will be yours as well.

But the man who majors on minors will never find the major and eventually will lose the

minors also.

It is the major that gives the minors meaning.

Jesus asks: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world [minors], and lose

his own soul [major]?”

If you major in minors, you will soon be a minus sign yourself. But if you seek the major,

you will find it and also have added the minors.

So, permit me to exhort every listener —

Reorient yourself!

Put first things first!

You are more important than your body.

God is all-important.

Relate yourself to Him and His will, and He will relate himself to you and your needs.

Don’t — whatever you do — don’t major in minors.


1 Printed Book Copyright 1936, by the Rodeheaver Co. International copyright secured.

2 Printed Book Copyright 1952, renewal by Hall-Mack Co. International copyright secured.

3 Printed Book Copyright renewal 1940. John T. Benson, Jr., owner.

4 By F. M. Lehman. Printed Book Copyright renewed 1945. Assigned to Nazarene Publishing


5 copyright 1942. Renewal. The Rodeheaver Co., owner.

6 Hope Publishing Company, owner.