Things are insane right now! The whole world is in utter chaos! Just today I read that Climate Change is fueling wildfires in the western states, as well as creating massive hurricanes. So far we have seen 20 different hurricanes, and the meteorologist are running short on names! Sea levels continue to rise year after year as the ice caps melt, while the government talks and talks and talks…
Yesterday the UN issued a 411-page report on the crimes against humanity involving the leadership of Venezuela. Every day we see tens of thousands of new COVID-19 cases in the USA, and learn about over 130 different vaccines being developed and tested. Nothing yet! The economy is so bad that the Federal Reserve is leaving the interest rate at near 0%, after all no one has any money. School has started back, but corona virus has terminated anything that was considered normal, and today I need to start thinking about what Christmas services will look like this year. I wonder if people will decorate their mask like reindeer?
God, what are we supposed to do?
Romans 8:38-39 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Isaiah 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD says— he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
I remember when I worked for Ford Motor Company in the early 1980s. I was one of many young hires working in the Customer Service Department answering phones. This was awesome! I had hit it big! I had a college degree behind me, a new job with a prestigious car manufacturer, and a big enough ego to have kept the Titanic afloat. After all, I had worked hard to gain my education and the world was now my playground. Ford Motor Company was lucky to have me, or at least that’s what I thought at the time.
Back then it was important for me to look the part of a young aspiring business executive. I had to wear the right clothes, the right jewelry and more than anything I had to portray the right attitude. My life at that time … was very much all about me!
As I climbed the corporate ladder I wasn’t concerned about anyone but myself. I started competing with the others in my office for position and income. I had to “look” professional and “act” like I had the entire corporation at my fingertips. This included my family and even more, God.
One day, I made a special trip to the mall to shop for the perfect “tie-tac!” I wanted one that was gold, not too gaudy and looked like a million dollars but cost less than ten. The next morning as I adorned myself with this trinket, I remember looking into the mirror feeling like I was Henry Ford himself. I was quite impressed!
Today more than thirty years has passed. Just a few days ago I was cleaning out my dresser when I stumbled across that same tie-tac. It was cheap looking, and the diamond in the center was so small that I could hardly see it, I’m sure there is one in there. Somehow my ego back then must have magnified it to the enormous proportion I remember. At Ford, it was all about me!
As a believer in Christ I have to accept that my life is no longer my own. My life now belongs to Jesus! It’s what I call the “volunteer Indian-giver.” Jesus created my life and gave it to me freely but now I have a choice, to hold onto it for my selfish gain or to return it to Christ for His plans and purpose. The right thing to do is to return it, but the miracle is that when I return it I am blessed tenfold. There is much more blessing, contentment and joy in living a Christ-centered life than a Joe-centered one!
NOTE TO SELF: Lose the “tie-tac”
Let’s settle this once and for all! Is God the captain of your ship (life) or are you? In the world we live in we have become use to directing our own lives. We look out for our own interest and our own long-term wellbeing. We have things like Life Insurance that protect us and our families when someone dies. This caring for our well-being is not sprinkled down from heaven by God, we have to do it! We have to set up the insurance policies, make the monthly payments and follow through when they come to term or when someone actually dies. God’s not doing this, I am, and quite frankly I like it this way! No one looks after number one like number one! Right?
I like it when God sends me information like the GPS in my phone. When to turn, how many miles to go and what time I will arrive. I like it when God looks ahead and watches for roadblocks or dangerous curves. As a Christian I say that God is my Captain and my life is His, but in reality, I struggle with this application. I am like Peter sinking in the waves as I watch myself and my surroundings instead of focusing on Jesus. Of course, there is another possibility; God is my Co-Captain!
A co-captain is someone I can listen to or not. I can argue my point without giving in to directions on a particular subject. A co-captain is an equal and a brother-in-arms. But as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ I have to submit my life, my will to the lordship of Jesus. I can’t argue my points but instead embrace the divine direction and judgement of Jesus. Can I do that? Will I ever do that? God will You help me do that, or am I doomed to a life of sober mediocracy?
NOTE TO SELF: Chose God … even when you don’t want to
In Rick Warren’s book, The Purpose Driven Life, he opens with a challenging statement, “It’s Not About You!” Those four words represent one of the most difficult principles one could ever hope to apply to their life in some degree. In a way, those words seem very foreign in a world of immediate gratification and self-centeredness. After all I can go to Burger King and “have it my way,” I can order a new car with the equipment that I chose to have or I can make hundreds of personal selections as I walk through Walmart shopping. Regardless, in 21st Century America, we can have it our way!
For Christian believers today, these words are extremely difficult to apply to our daily lives. I vote for the candidate I want, I chose the place I will live and I literally make thousands of choices for myself every hour of every day. How can this life not be about me? Maybe Rick Warren means something else? Perhaps the meaning of this perplexing statement is hidden in the agenda I have for my life. After all God gave me this life, right? God surely isn’t an “Indian-giver” is He? “Have your life but give it back to Me!” “Aaarrrg!” I don’t think so.
One of the principles Christians wrestle with in this statement of Rick Warren’s is the concept of our lives being blessed by giving up dominion over them. Or put another way it is the idea that we receive tremendous joy and contentment by living for God and not ourselves. But there are problems with that. I still humanly want my own way and don’t like being told what to do! After all, my idea of fun and fulfillment is probably different than God’s! Can the two co-exist and bring Godly fruit? Even more, does it really matter?
NOTE TO SELF: I’m not done with this question yet!