Weather Report From Heaven: Sunny and bright, with an abundance of light and lots of singing and rejoicing.
Bible Verse of the Day: Luke 9:25 ” For what shall it profit it a man to gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”
I have been thinking a lot lately about what success means to me. What would I do with my life if money wasn’t an object, and I could do whatever I wanted? I feel like once I can concretely answer that question in my own heart, than I will have found the answer to my life’s dream. What unique gifts has God given me that can help me fulfill my part in His eternal mosaic? I have been introspective about how I am living my life, what my goals and ambitions are, and what would I do to leave a mark on this world if I could do anything I wanted. It has been a winding road, trying to find the path with which I want to live the rest of my days out on this planet.
One thing that I have become painfully aware of is that every one of my actions will have an impact on the legacy that I will leave behind for eternity and I want to thoughtfully consider each action before diving headlong into it. In other words, I want to be aware of the costs of each of the decisions I make, because every decision does entail a cost. What is the cost of someone who is so driven to get ahead in his career that he works 100 hours a week and never has the time or energy to enjoy himself? It could be depression caused by burnout. It could be his family suffers, or his health, or his inner beauty begins to fade as he sees everyone around him as an impediment to what he wants to achieve. What is the cost to someone who makes it big financially and gets all of his dreams answered, only to find out that he doesn’t have the internal fortitude and root structure in place to handle his success? It could be that he blows his money on a lifestyle of drugs, alcohol and women that leads to his demise and downfall. What is the cost to a person who is so competitive that he literally can’t tolerate losing in any facet of his life? It may be total loneliness or pent up rage. There is always a cost to our actions and our decisions. When we take time to deeply reflect on what is truly important to us, then we will put a structure in place in our lives that prioritizes the things we value most. I have lived for most of my adult life believing that success was tangible, that it could be measured. I have recently come to understand that at least in my life, my personal definition of success is more intangible; It is to be measured by things that aren’t easily measured in our world’s eyes. Time spent with my family is a major priority. My children’s personal contentment with their lives is a major priority. Helping people who are less fortunate than me is a priority. Using my God given gifts to glorify the One who created me is important. I can’t drive those things, I can’t sell them on Craig’s List, but I can make decisions that take into account how those things are affected by my decisions.
Let’s face it, we live in a world where people are willing to do or say almost anything to get ahead. But what does get ahead mean in our society today? In most cases, people view obtaining wealth or power as the measure of success by which they want to be measured. But is that the right barometer? Just look at the mess most of the top politicians in this country have made of their personal lives in their quest for power, wealth and influence. Scandals seem to always be right there by their side. Extra-marital affairs are commonplace. Deceitfulness is prevalent in their lives as they try to hide from the truth of what they have become. They are willing to forfeit their souls to get what their heart desires. Many times though, I have heard people say they have gotten exactly what they wished for, only to find out that it left them without the fulfillment they had planned on. They soon realize that the rush that the world promises never lives up to the hype. In fact, many times it left them even more empty when they had to reflect back on all they had given up in order to obtain their desires.
The truth is, when we back away from God and try to be our own kings, what we quickly find is that the enslaving chords of this world begin to grip around us and capture us, and begin to chip away at our own personal beauty. We become slaves to the things that we worship. We must be very careful about what we allow to be our master, for we all become what we worship. God repeatedly warns us about getting caught up in our own plans, and striving so hard to obtain “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plan.” Proverbs 3:5-6 instructs us to ” Trust in the “Lord, with all of our hearts and lean not on our own understanding, and in all our ways acknowledge him, and he will make our paths straight.” We have choices every day, and every choice has consequences. Psalm 1:5 says that if we delight in the law of the Lord and meditate on it day and night, that we can “be like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.”
The cost of following God and seeking His righteousness is ALWAYS less than following our own wisdom, and the rewards are always greater. Every decision we make has a cost. We never get the time back to change what has already been done. Those consequences are already written in stone. Thanks to Jesus Christ we can be forgiven of our sins and have them permanently removed from our records, but we can never undo the consequences of our actions. If I go have a beer with a friend after work instead of seeing my son’s baseball game, I can never erase that decision and the pain I caused him when I didn’t show up when he expected me to. He may forgive me, but I can’t undo what has been done already. I want my life to reflect that which I hold dear to me, based on the decisions I make. I know now I need God’s strength and power to make the right decisions. When we sink our roots deep down into the Lord, He will provide us with an unremitting source of living water, even during those drought periods of our lives. I have come to realize that the only true and lasting peace is found there. It is a treasure that nothing else can compare with.
Prayer: Father God, thank you for your offer to guide us with your wisdom through this life’s valleys and mountain top experiences, for each has its own challenges. We need you Lord in every decision of our life. In Jesus’ mighty name. Amen!