After many years of diverse career experience, I was excitedly counting down the days until my retirement. I eagerly anticipated being in control of my schedule and time while enjoying a slower pace of life. I envisioned more days devoted to serving in ministry at my church and deepening relationships...
Christians aim to live a life that is centered on God. Here are some ways to cultivate that kind of life:
Recognize that Whatever You Are Doing Now Is Only for a Time
The world wants you to believe that everything is stable, secure, and permanent. But it is not so. The home that you live in is yours for a time. The work that you do is yours for a time. The people you love are yours for a time.
One day, others will live in your home. One day, others will continue your work. And one day, others will have your money. James says:
What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. (James 4:14)
Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
Whatever you are doing in your life, hold it lightly because it will not be forever.
Keep Your Dreams on the Altar of God
How hard this is to do! We all have hopes and dreams for the future. But we have no rights. There are no certainties.
God is free at any time to disturb in any way your dream, to give you a completely new calling. So keep your dreams on the altar of God.
None of us knows the sovereign purpose of God. But God is always at work. If God should call you to something new, it will be a defining moment for you. Think of Jonah—he never imagined himself in Nineveh. What is going on under the surface of your life will be revealed.
Lord, help me keep my dreams on Your altar. Don’t let me be like Jonah. Don’t let me become the kind of person who is so comfortable in my home, with my friends, and in my ministry that I would be unwilling to do something completely different for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the lost, for the sake of the gospel.
Practice Making Yourself Available to God
The more comfortable you are, the more difficult it will be for you to obey God’s call to do something new.
When you love what you do, you’re happy in your life, everything seems to be going well, and God seems to be blessing you, it is really hard to keep your heart in a place where you can say to the Lord: “If there’s something else you want me to do, I’m willing to do it.”
Have you ever honestly asked if God wants you on the mission field? Have you explored whether there is some way in which your gifts could be used in cross-cultural ministry?
When you think about your career, what you do when your children are at school, when you think about your retirement, have you come before the Lord and asked how you can be most useful to Him? Or it is really about yourself?
Practice making yourself available to God.
Jonah and Jesus
There is an extraordinary contrast between Jonah and Jesus.
Think about Jonah: He lives in a good place, he is doing a good work and enjoying a good life, and God says, “Jonah I want you to go to another place, do another work, and live another life for the sake of people I love who are facing judgment.” And Jonah said “No.”
Think about the experience of the Son of God: He was surrounded by the joy and life of heaven. He ruled the universe by the Word of His power. He was adored by angels with all creation at His feet. The Father says to the Son, “I want you to go to another place, where you will be utterly rejected. I want you to live another life that will lead to torture, crucifixion, and death. I want you to do this work to reach and save people I love, who are facing judgment.” And Jesus said “Yes!”
Lord, make me less like Jonah and more like Jesus.