I recently visited “The First Baptist Church in America.” Founded by Roger Williams in 1638 in Providence, Rhode Island, the present church building was constructed in 1775. Its colonial structure is impressive, with its towering steeple, high pulpit, and boxed pews. Each pew is surrounded by a low wall and gate, and was possessed by families who sat together during church services.

These Baptists took their pew-sitting seriously, for the following note is displayed in the church: “To all persons whom it may consearn, know you that we . . . have agreed to changed Pewes that we drawd in the new Babtis meeting house in Providence. As witness own hands this ninth day of June, 1778.”

I laughed when I saw the date, for it meant that the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) could not distract these Baptists from carefully maintaining who sat in which pew. Indeed, if they were like my Baptist church, the war over the pews inside the church may have been more intense than the war going on outside!

This pew contract shows our need for perspective. Everything matters, but not everything matters equally. That’s good to remember when dinner is late, your child has a cavity, the car won’t start, your team blew a big lead, or falling stocks wiped out half of your life savings.

These things are important, but they don’t compare to the value of the kingdom of God. Jesus said that His saving rule in our lives “is like a merchant on the lookout for choice pearls. When he discovered a pearl of great value, he sold everything he owned and bought it!” (Matthew 13:45-46).

What went wrong today? Unload your troubles on God, knowing that He cares for you (Matthew 6:30-33). But also thank Him for what hasn’t changed. Isn’t that what matters most?