So, between the busy work schedule, the kids' busier play schedule, all the errands and responsibilities that come with everyday life, and everything else we have going on...Especially this time of year...What is it we are really doing with our lives?
Yeah, that's no easy question to answer, but it gets easier once you define how you WANT to answer it. That is done by deciding what you want to do with your life; how you want to measure your impact in this world. Are you striving for worldly financial and social success? Or are you endeavoring to permanently impact the lives of those around you? Maybe you have political aspirations? Or have you been simply plodding through life, trying to survive, with no real direction or goal in mind whatsoever? Once you set a goal for your life's work you can begin measuring your success to that end.
In this Western society, even Christ-followers have a difficult task laid out for them, deciphering what it is that we are supposed to be doing with our lives. Our supposedly "Christian" culture is all about the appearance of good will, while still living untransformed lives; striving for carnal desires, making very little if any impact on the world around us. There is so little focus on righteousness and discipleship in most of our churches that even those of us who regularly attend mostly just hear sermons about "being a good person" and "accepting everyone for who they are" with nothing standing in our path, challenging us to become who and what we are destined to be.
If we were to step outside our comfortable pews, open the Word and read...REALLY read it, with an open mind...We would see quite a different picture of who God intends for His people to be. We would be convicted and challenged to set aside worldly pursuits, to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, to be filled with His Spirit, and to indelibly impact those around us. The fruit of our labor would be lives, permanently changed for the better, simply by having spent any time around us. We would be called to die to ourselves and to live only in Christ, and therefore to be only about our Father's work. If the Bible is true, then we have been called to spend time in the Word, in worship and in prayer, perpetually being transformed into new creations in Christ, displaying the Kingdom of God in this world, simply by our thoughts, words, decisions and actions. We are God's Ambassadors, His representatives. Agents and Administrators of the Kingdom of the Most high. Appointees, Delegates, Deputies, Diplomats, Emissaries, Envoys, Intermediaries, Ministers, Officers, Operatives, Proctors, Proxies, Stewards, Surrogates, Viceroys...
We are the People of God, visibly demonstrating His Kingdom and His Purposes on this earth. How does striving to have a big name, to live in a big house with big TVs and big cars even begin to compare? Yeah, it doesn't. Not even a little. God tells us in His Word that in heaven, those who were the least among us on earth shall be the greatest, and the greatest among us shall be the least. In this way, the most humble custodian, serving with his whole heart, in heaven will be greater than the most powerful person here in the world. So what does going into mountains of debt to buy a house and cars to compete with your neighbors really accomplish? Nothing, except a lot of stress and trouble in this world. Don't misunderstand, I'm not opposed to anyone appearing successful in the natural; God desires to greatly bless all of us. But only when these things aren't really of any concern to us, and we are seeking only His Will and Way in our lives. It's the motivation of the heart that matters. Matthew 6:25-34 puts it plainly...
25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (NIV)
So how are we to measure success in this life? How are we to discern our purpose? I believe, when it's all said and done, God tells us in His Word. Quite simply; “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind", and "Love your neighbor as yourself". If we can just accomplish these two things, then I believe in heaven we will be regarded above the Donald Trumps of this world.