A while back I was up early for my devotional time. The morning was just beginning to light up my yard. Beautiful! I spent a little time just staring out the window and the question “Why?” formed in my mind. It lingered. You see, this was an interesting time in my life. Lot’s of things seemed to be “ending”. Just over a year ago, both of my kids got married, 6 weeks apart. While not the end of being a parent, it certainly signaled the end of a major stage. Though there is always an opportunity to do more in business, striving for greater financial security and prominence, I was feeling like I was closer to the tail end of my latest work. I didn’t have any sort of “bucket list” either… Honestly, I was feeling a bit hollow.
The question “Why?” continued to linger, I could feel it drawing me in, like the gravitational pull of a black hole.
I cracked open my Bible per my reading plan. I read Ecclesiastes 11:7-8 (NLT):
“Light is sweet; how pleasant to see a new day dawning. When people live to be very old, let them rejoice in every day of life. But let them also remember there will be many dark days. Everything still to come is meaningless.”
Obviously, this resonated with exactly what I was feeling. (Isn’t it amazing sometimes how God plops things right in front of you? I still shake my head when he does this.) It certainly was a pleasant morning dawning, and though not “very old” yet, I could foresee those coming days. Made me think, a lot! Then I remembered that the writer of Ecclesiastes starts the book with “everything is meaningless…..under the sun.” I held onto this thought….
My reading plan that morning also took me through 1 Peter 1:17-19 (NLT).
“And remember that the heavenly Father to whom you pray has no favorites. He will judge or reward you according to what you do. So you must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.” 18 For you know that God paid a ransom to save you from the empty life you inherited from your ancestors. And it was not paid with mere gold or silver, which lose their value. 19 It was the precious blood of Christ, the sinless, spotless Lamb of God.”
God teed me up using Ecclesiastes and hit me square between the eyes with 1 Peter – Boom! God knew I had received an empty life, inherited from my ancestors. That broken, lost life. That life “under the sun”. He met me right where I was and he ransomed me, saving me from it. Giving me a brand-new life “beyond the sun”. I’ve known this for some time now…but there is more here.
Though already saved, “He will judge or reward me according to what I do.”
I always seem to be reading that the Christian life is not a matter of doing… “You can’t earn your salvation”…true. Then they say, stop “posing” – doing things to be viewed well in the eyes of others, being “religious”…also true. But James clearly spells out that faith without action is no faith at all…we have to do, too.
We cannot get caught up in the thought that all we have to do is believe.
The other part that got me is the small word (it always seems to be the small words in the Bible that are so powerful). This word? “Or”. Peter says that God will “judge or reward you.” Yes, we may be saved, but I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather be rewarded than be judged by the almighty God.
Do you want to be Judged or Rewarded?
Wait a minute….seeking rewards sounds, well….selfish, doesn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to be focused on others? A disconnect? But Peter said more….
At what price was I saved from my empty life? The highest price; priceless in fact. The life of the sinless, spotless Lamb of God. Jesus gave his life for me. I find it hard to grasp the significance of this. It sure does tell me a bit about how God thinks though. I suspect it also tells me a bit about what he will consider as he prepares to give out rewards. Would a God who gave everything, reward a man who did things for the sole purpose of seeking his own reward (giving only to get back)? I’m thinking not. I suspect God will reward those who act like he did; being willing to give his life for another without any expectation. Look at what Jesus said in John 15:12-14:
“This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you. 13 There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.”
I’m thinking that Jesus will reward his friends. He laid down his life for me; he commands I lay my life down for others. A command. Not just “it would be good if you did this…” Think about this for a while.
God knew exactly what I needed to hear and he hit me hard. He answered my question “Why?” Make no mistake about it. I pursue, I strive, I live for God… Because of who he is, what he has done and because he made me specifically for a purpose and there is a great work to be done. You may not yet know what that purpose (your Life Mission) is, but you can figure this out…and the sooner the better. Whatever it is, it will call for you to lay down your life for others. How this looks will be unique to you. Peter also provides a motivational “kick” to add some urgency: “we must live in reverent fear of him during your time here as “temporary residents.”” There is no time to waste.
A huge price was paid for you to be in this spot where you are right now. What will you do?
Now I know the answer and I must get to work. I start by sharing with you. There is much to be done for God’s kingdom and there is no better place to start then where you are right now.
Let me help you discover your Life Mission. Check out my book, Unlock Your Life, 5 Steps and a Jump to Living the Adventure God Made You For