My burning passion...
The call goes out...
significant vital pressing
central imperative chief major
momentous crucial fundamental key primary basic necessary indispensable
requisite serious dangerous grave noteworthy considerable large
The response is life altering
“what is the most important thing in life?”
I can change the future
It’s impossible to know the future, but you can change it. History is made when people think about the future, when they live their lives on purpose for something that truly lasts…something that endures. This question of what is most important in life has sent my mind on an exploration to find the “pearl of great price”. Much like the parable, it has captured me so that I long to risk all and surrender all to say I found it and cherished it. The flurry of activity in my life keeps me from reminding myself that there is something central…something core to be sought for and lived for. I immediate look around me and ask myself, “What lasts forever?” In a world of spoiling and fading, what has enduring value beyond my life, beyond this life? There is only one thing.
People never die
I’ve come to the conclusion that the most important thing in life, once you come to know Jesus, is people. They will never die…their souls live either happily ever after or horrifically ever after. You may say, “what about the glory of God…isn’t that central?” I’m not debating that, I’m just trying to get to how. How do we bring God the most glory? Worship songs, Bible Reading, Camp attendance, Prayer meetings, tithing…what makes him come alive? I was thinking about the words of Jesus, “I have come to seek and save those who were lost!” Pretty clear…his mission was settled and his vision was cast. He came seeking people…broken people, lifeless people, empty people, busy people, successful people, mean people, wretched people, happy people, apathetic people…he came for people. His life was people. His time was spent for and with people. He thought about people, healed people, conversed with people, asked people questions, pursued people, challenged people, invited people into life, attended parties with people, hung out with people, discipled people, cried with people, laughed with people, and ultimately died for people. You don’t just die for causes, unless the cause involves people you deeply care about. Jesus didn’t give up on people. He always was looking for ways to get to know them so that he could target his encouragement with custom made words that would awaken the spirit of the listener. He looked for friends…he made friends. He balled over his friend who died. He shared most of his adult life in ministry with 12 close friends…it’s like he knew he couldn’t live without close friends. But he only made close friends so that he could serve PEOPLE with them. He didn’t form a clique, he took the friendship to places of ministry. The friendship had a purpose beyond growing closer. It expanded to serving together…which quite frankly is where memories are made and hearts fulfilled. Don’t you ever wonder why you’re busy, but rarely fulfilled? It’s because it is “more blessed to give than to receive.” Whenever something stops at getting…it rots. That’s why the Christian life for a good majority of Christians frankly “rots”.
Because of the call to love people and make a difference in their lives, it would only make sense that one of my greatest fears is to come to the end of my life and realize that I had little impact on the souls of people. Again…when I think future, I make history. And when I talk of making a difference, I’m not talking about the ego-centric motive of being remembered and praised for accomplishment, I’m referring to having the basic need to know that your life mattered for something deeply and dearly. Too many live for themselves and wonder why they feel a massive disconnect and possibly even thoughts like, “What’s the point of living?” Suicidal thoughts aren’t only felt by the manic-depressives. They are experienced by all those who long for eternal value and find themselves washed up on the shores of superficiality. You can’t live there for long before you are haunted with thoughts of Confusion and Emptiness. Imagine being on your deathbed someday and looking back only to find that most of your life was spent on job performance, making money and impressing people. You would die a thousand deaths before took your last breath. In fact, most people are already dead…they’re just waiting for their bodies to catch up. Isn’t it funny that when you spend your life trying to impress everyone…you rarely make any deep and lasting impression on anyone?
I was lying in bed once with my wife and our conversation drifted to the subject of freedom, particularly how hard it is to live abundantly without freedom of the heart. As we were talking, my head pounded with the thought, “People need to be freed, and I intend to free them!” It was almost like I didn’t say it. Up to that moment, I was fighting to stay awake, from that moment on, I was fighting to go to sleep. “What is whispered in your ear, shout from the rooftops!” What an incredible set of words our Lord left us to digest. I sometimes wonder if I miss the blessing of revelation because I don’t take it up to the rooftop and shout at the top of my lungs what God has laid on my heart. From the mouth of God to the heart of the child, to the lungs of the ambassador, to the lips of the preacher…”Free People!” Do I intend to do it? Sometimes based on my stamina, I wonder. I get so discouraged so quickly. I lose heart one lap into the race. This is where Paul’s final plea grips my heart, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith!” Fight, Finish, Keep. Three things that I lose sight of in this battle…and before I know it, survival become my primary goal, not people. Many days I wake up and feel alone, overwhelmed, and insufficient. I don’t feel capable of changing lives or the future. I wonder if my efforts are futile and my energy spent in vain. I see little fruit and lots of hurtles. I question my calling and whether the task is greater than my ability. But the glorious invitation remains, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for me?” God’s pounding heart for people seems to cadence like a drum in my spirit and I begin to move toward the sound only to find a happy and holy God smiling at the other end of the voice. With a thunderous whisper he leans forward and says, “Heaven awaits your arrival.”
Heaven will satisfy
We wonder that though don’t we? Why are we so resistant to leave? Why aren’t we more drawn to the golden streets and the crystal sea and the glittering mansions in the celestial city? Deep inside we don’t believe that heaven is as good as what we see around us outside the freedom from sin. We question whether our true desires will find fulfillment or if we will be disappointed at the gift of eternal life. We dread the thought of spending forever singing, bowing, singing some more and then going to our sterile mansion of gold in our sterile robe of white. Something inside wants to get dirty, run wild and yell loud. Something desires exploration, conquest and accomplishment. Something yearns for laughter, fellowship and wrestling. Picnics on the mountaintops, canoe trips down a quiet river, campouts without mosquitoes, slumber parties with comfortable pajama’s, competition among peers, adventure involving unknowns, grilling out with friends, flying without the assistance of an airplane, going on a walk with Jesus, plunging the depths of the ocean without scuba gear and not needing to come up for air. Grabbing a dolphin by the fin and slicing through water like a knife through butter, getting alone and listening to God’s heaven breath with holy lungs, creating games never before thought of, dancing with friends around the throne of God, jumping with the disciples in mosh pit, going jogging with friends through the rain forests, playing sports with childhood heroes, enjoying new creations of the Lord never before experienced on earth. THIS is what we WONDER. Is it worth it to give it all for God?
I can’t wait to spend time with people I touched and had a part in changing. I wonder what it will be like to have people come up to you and say, “Thanks for opening my eyes and never growing tired in the battle.” You see, everything you give and every moment you live will be remembered for all eternity. I know that there won’t be any tears in heaven…but I do think there will be the ability to look back in reflection at what could have been. Nothing done in God’s name for his glory will be irresponsibly forgotten. Each act of love invested in the soul of another will be rewarded. People will remember you, Paul even says that people in his ministry were his glory and crown of whom he would glory in Christ Jesus. He always seemed to value people above any other priority. He lost sleep over people, He stayed up through the watches of the night praying for people, he worried about people’s growth, he was jealous for people, he fought for the hearts of people, he spent time writing letters to people while in prison, “I never stop thanking God for you always remembering you in my prayers day and night”….wow!
People need to be freed, and I intend to do it!
This collection of thoughts was burning out my insides; I had to get it out. Sometimes I feel as if I’m going to explode with pent up passion! I want my life to end with an “!”, not a “?”. I have been called to raise up an army of people who love the Lord with heart, soul, mind and strength, and their neighbor as themselves. It seems to me that unless we are asking ourselves what is most important, we will never engage in the eternal. Our lives will be spent instead of invested and our hearts will die young and live cold. It is no secret that unless your heart finds pleasure in what God finds important, it will find it elsewhere. And as the Psalmist so appropriately writes, “Better is one day in your house(pleasure) than a thousand elsewhere.”
I want to free people with my freedom. It won’t be easy, it’s sure to be lonely, but that is where eternal pleasure is experienced. God’s smile will be my pleasure. I want to free people…I want to free people. I am compelled to. I must. I want others to join me, but that is not a prerequisite. People need to be freed, and by God’s grace, I intend to do it!”