Monday, August 26, 2013

Kingdom Perspective

Few of us, I think, truly feel that we have found the one and absolute calling on our lives professionally. I would hope that most pastors feel God has called them. I truly believe God does call many of us to specific vocations, specifically those in the ministry. The apostle Paul, for example. I wouldn't dare say Jesus revealed himself to Paul to give him an idea of what he may consider doing in the future. God called Paul. If he called Paul, he calls others. But, I'm not convinced he does this for each of us. Perhaps he does. God's sovereignty leaves nothing to chance... he does ordain our steps. What HAS he called each of us to do? The answer is in John 6:29 - "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

I think much of our angst about finding our calling is actually selfish, though it may be cloaked in what we think is a pursuit of obedience. We want to find fulfillment. We want to be satisfied by what we do. Don't mistake me, I want this too. We all want to have lives of meaning and significance, and this is surely not a bad thing in itself. But, it can be.

I was in 7-11 earlier, where you'll often find me... and while in line a picture came to mind. I pictured myself as a small child bent down trying to pick up a quarter from the sidewalk. The quarter was elusive. It's on its side under a grate, finger-length deep. I'm straining to line my fingers up just right so that I can pull it out. It will happen, it'll just take a moment. God is my dad, five paces ahead. He turns back to his left, left arm extended back saying, "Let's go... we need to keep going." This was a picture, not a video... it ends there. 

What I know, though, is that my dad is leading me to a place with roads paved with gold, full of emeralds and diamonds. Wealth beyond imagination. He's taking me there and I'll share in the wealth. I tell him I believe I know where he's taking me. I do believe this is where he'll take me... I believe I trust him. And yet, I find it necessary to spend a few minutes grasping for this elusive quarter-dollar. I don't see my dad looking at my angrily, but more in the line of, "If you'd only get it. If you'd only listen, really listen to what I've said about where I'm taking you..." 

Not one of us would spend a lick of time chasing after a quarter on our way to pick up a check for a billion dollars. I know the only reason that would lead me to do this is a lack of belief in the reality that I'll be receiving this check. In John 6:27-28 just before speaking the words above, Jesus says," Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you." In 1 Corinthians 2:9 we are told, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"

So, what does all this have to do with calling? Maybe you can relate - I know for me it's the internal struggle of seeking satisfaction, significance, influence, wealth, and happiness in this life. I believe the quarter will help. I believe if I pick up enough quarters I'll be a bit happier on my way to the paradise that awaits me beyond. This is ONLY true if: 1. I really don't believe in this paradise and don't trust my father. And/Or 2. I believe that on my way there I need to amass as much as I can (for you this may be money, relationships, fame, influence, etc.) in order to enjoy the walk.

If we could only catch a glimpse of the timeline of eternity! If we could only see that this life is an atom-wide spot on the 4 billion-mile timeline of our eternal lives. I really believe that the more I can come to understand this fact, the less anxiety I'll experience, the less I'll care whether I ever make that million, whether I get that part, whether I make my mark on this world. I pray for myself and each of us that we'll stand up and decide to be content to walk hand-in-hand with our heavenly Father as he takes us to his home. In this home I'm told I'll be his son, that I'll be a co-heir with Christ. I don't think all the quarters in the world will compare.