Romans 8:28 – “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” NASB
Now, the question to ask on this New Year’s Day – “What Are You Living For?” That may sound strange when connected to the text I have chosen for this topic, but if you will permit, I believe you will understand. I want to address the last words of that sentence, “to those who are called according to His purpose.” The focus is His Purpose and that begs the question of each of us, “What Are We Living For?”
I heard a preacher reveal his technique for sharing his faith in witnessing using two very simple questions. He would first ask, “What do you do for a living?” The responses are always the typical, Doctor, Lawyer, Teacher, etc. We all do something or aspire to do something in life as a vocation. That opens the door and then he asks, “What are you living for?” That is a completely different world and there is usually silence because most do not truly have a picture in their minds of what they are truly living for.
We are all living for something even if we do not know what it is or how to articulate it. The question is What? Some people invest their entire lives pursuing wealth, some fame, some approval, some seeking love and to be loved. The question is valid, “What are you living for?” What is your purpose in life? What is that which keeps you moving from day to day, project to project, and venture to venture?
You are investing your life in something the question is what? The additional question is will it be of eternal value or temporal? Jesus asked the disciples, “Who do men say that I am? What are people saying about me?” They gave a list of what they were hearing and then He asked the pointed question, “But what about you? What do you believe about Me?” Peter gave the timeless answer of eternal value, “You are the Christ!”
That recognition of that reality allowed Jesus to direct their thinking and lay before them His Purposes and the various paths they could choose. In a very real sense, He was saying, “Now that you know who I am, are you ready and willing to take up your cross and follow me?” He cautioned that the world would never understand what or why they were doing what they were going to do. He reminded them that they could turn to this world, it was an option. It was not a good one and would prove fatal, but they had the option.
I heard a powerful sermon about Jesus’ life and the list given would make Him a failure by this world’s standards. He was born in obscurity, never went to college, never owned property, never held public office, never wrote a book, did not have a wife or children, he made powerful enemies, and was crucified as a common criminal on a cruel cross. That is not a picture of the pathway to success in the eyes of the world and much of the church.
If you are pursuing a career, your reward is that career. However, if your life is the pursuit of a mission, you are laying up eternal treasures. Someone said, “A career is something you choose for yourself, but a mission is chosen for you by another.” The life pursuit called for in the Bible is never about careers but missions. The Bible is not opposed to careers, thank God there are those who have invested themselves in various occupations. The Bible is not against wealth, thank God for those who have amassed fortunes and invest it in people and God’s kingdom.
If we make our lives a Mission, we do not waste time as we do if we are only pursuing a career. Benjamin E. Mays offered some valuable insight: He wrote, “I have just one minute only sixty seconds in it. Forced upon me – can’t refuse it, didn’t seek it, didn’t choose it, but it’s up to me to use it. I must suffer if I lose it, give account if I abuse it. Just a tiny minute – but eternity is in it.”
C.T. Studd eloquently declared: “Only one life, ‘twill soon be past, Only, what’s done for Christ will last.” On this New Year’s Day, you may or may not make Resolutions, but I ask that you consider the eternal question – “What Am I Living For?” I also pray that your response will become – “For the Purposes of God.” I also pray that your declaration will be more than an offering of piousness without purpose, but that you will become a Matthew 6:33 person and you will ‘seek first, Him and His purposes.’
I pray that 2020 will be the greatest year you have ever lived, and you will see more accomplished than your wildest dreams, hopes, and aspirations. Remember, “Only one life to live, ‘twill soon be past, Only, what’s done for Christ will last.”
Have a fantastic day and a fantastic year! HAPPY NEW YEAR!