"God never designed us to rust out but rather to wear out." Dennis Rainey, Family Life Today
"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God
not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do
good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do." (Ephesians 2:8-10, NIV)
Lately, I have been thinking about my life and what it has meant to live in faith. What have I done that would be considered significant? Who have I influenced with God's love and grace? Am I making a positive impact and a tangible difference in God's kingdom? I don't want my life to have never produced anything of value apart from marrying my wife and having an incredible family. Are there women and men enjoying the glory of heaven because of my life and witness? These questions ruminate within and I have no definite answers. I can assume that one day in heaven these questions will be resolved. Until then, I work as a servant for Jesus Christ. I don't want to miss an opportunity to make a friend and share Christ (In that order).
I am not one to celebrate the 'participation awards' given to people for taking part in an activity just for fun. I am not anti-fun nor am I discrediting those who actually show up and participate. I do, however, believe in striving toward a goal and working tirelessly to attain victory at some level. Victory demands training and instruction on how to play the game and to use my specific skills. In losing a competition, one learns to persevere and character is formed. In losing, one learns from mistakes and readjusts the sights to focus on the mission. If making another disciple for Jesus is the mission for us, then how are we doing?
At the end of my life here, I want to look back and see markers on my timeline that were celebrated in heaven. I want to see and hear people realize their great sin and then to have them meet the great Savior Jesus Christ. I want to leave all I have to offer out on the playing field of life. I never want to have lived a life that felt as though I never lived. I want to contend!
"Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel without being frightened in any way by those who oppose you." (Philippians 1:27-28, NIV)
While being a 'student' of the Bible is our lifelong call, I believe we need to implement our learnings into viable ministry practices. Participating in Bible studies is commendable but hands on, feet on the ground, measurable acts of godly love are what really impact God's kingdom.
During this season of Thanksgiving and the weeks leading up to Christmas, take some time to evaluate your devotion to Christ. Consider your level of involvement in ministry. Are you coasting through life waiting to have that shiny 'participation ribbon' pinned on your shirt or are you expending your life as one who desires to finish the race with a flourish? Not everyone wins first place, but those who don't push toward the finish line never will....
"I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents
than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent." (Luke 15:7, NIV)