Question #5 - "What now?"
After all the years, fears, and tears, it really comes down to what you do about what you know. What fruit you produce. What you will do to redeem all the experiences God has allowed you to go through, good and bad. This is the goal, the aim of a life given fully and wholly to God.
All the other questions on the quest of the Christian life must lead to this question: “What now?” One author said it this way: How shall we then live? In light of all that we have come to know and feel, what deliberate actions am I to take? After all is said and done, the hope is that more is done than merely said. Talk is cheap. True belief is backed up with action. In 1 John 3:18 says, “Let us not love with words and talk, but with actions and truth.” So that’s the end game right? Living Love while Loving Life.
If we are discipling someone, it is important to lead people to the “dire need for presence in the present”. There are so few who dial in and dwell in the present. Most are preoccupied with the past or the future missing the moments called “Now”…what about NOW?
Life passes by like sand slipping through our fingers. If we’re not careful we will miss the moments we’ve been gifted. So many are fixated on the Next and they miss the Now. Though planning is important, there has to be a discipline to be present once you arrive at the moment you planned for. That is why for many the anticipation of the vacation is better than the vacation itself. They are more present in the dream of the thing than they are when the thing itself is staring them in the face. I can’t believe how often I will be concentrating on the Next and when it becomes the Now, I’m onto the next Next. So I say again: What Now?
First, the “What”. Will it have substance? Will it be worthwhile? Will is make the world a better place? Will it leave things better than I found them? Will it awaken life in others? Will it bring pleasure to the heart of God? Will it matter in the end, have meaning beyond this life? Will my “what” truly be significant, important. Or will it be myopic, shallow, selfish, and small minded. Notice I didn’t say small…often the most important work we could do is to be faithful in the small things day after day after day. But being small-minded is playing the main role in a small story instead of the supporting role in the larger story…God’s story. Choosing the “whats” of your life is so critical. I’m persuaded to think something inside of us tells us so. What’s the use of entering into a relationship with God only to become lazy and lackadaisical with the decisions of your life as a disciple.
I truly believe a mature believer desires to invest his or her life in the things that deeply matter whether they are high profile or completely unseen. It’s painful to watch Christians meander and wander after years of church and fellowship and bible studies. It’s sad to see so little power and passion after so much indoctrination, so much information. I sometimes wonder if they aren’t really being shown the grand plan to the very end…uninvited to the great adventure of offering themselves, surrendering themselves, to the ultimate “Whats”. I don’t know this for sure, but the drifting and fading makes me wonder. Is there a compelling “what” that captures their heart after years of being a Christian? Is there a difference between a Christian and a Disciple? Is the former rooted in emotion and the latter, devotion? Again, I don’t know, but I yearn to see people discover their divine purpose and to execute it more and more precisely as they come down the home stretch of their earthly life.
But the “What” is only half the question. The “What” dangles out there unhinged if it’s not tethered to the “Now”. What Now? After knowing all I know, what is happening today that needs my interaction and intervention? The author of Hebrews put it this way: “Encourage one another while it’s called ‘Today’ so that you’re not hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.” – Hebrews 3 Without deeply studying the term ‘Today’ that is (intriguingly) capitalized and put in quotation marks in this text, my curiosity is piqued. It’s almost like the author has to emphasis today, now, the present. Why?
I just think it’s easy to have so much potential at your disposal that goes to waste because of procrastination. We delay today and think things like: I’ll do it tomorrow. I’ve got all week. I’ll get to it later. It’s not pressing. No big deal. It can wait. The author here seems to want to awaken people from this sloppy thinking and to pull them into the pregnant present. Do it now!! Don’t trivialize the importance of “today”. Today is all you really ever have. Yesterday is gone, tomorrow may never come…today is really all that we can do anything about with certainty.
But that’s the trick that the Enemy uses. He trivializes today and deifies dreaming. Dreaming only counts if it makes a difference in this day. You can keep saying ‘someday’, but at some point, you have to pull the trigger and say, “today”. This is what I’m going to be about the business of today. I’m not waiting. No more deliberation or hesitation, I’m leveraging my life for this day. So many want to do everything instead of something and end up doing nothing. This is the scheme of the Liar, the Deceiver. He will use laziness or loftiness to neutralize you and I. His end game is ultimately to waste the now to keep us holding onto our “what”. Like the unfaithful servant in the Bible, we bury our gift under the porch and wait another day for the “right” moment. The perfect time never comes. The perfect time is actually the messy moment.
But putting all blame aside, whether it’s on the discipler or the disciple, we were meant to invest our “what” right “now”. We were meant to learn all that we know and go through all that we’ve experienced to make a difference, not settle into indifference. Our souls are dying to do something today that matters. After all the steps we’ve taken and the sermons we’ve heard, the songs we’ve sung an the prayers we’ve prayed, the conversations we’ve had and the books we’ve read…what difference will it make today. What Now?
If a person captures the answer to that question, they will live with an unquenchable fire in their bones. Their days will be given to that which possesses gravity and their lives will be spent on that which is everlasting. This is the ultimate purpose of coming to know Jesus. To live like him and to live well right to the very end so that we can say with Christ, “It is finished.” If we know our “it”, our “what”, and complete the mission entrusted to us, there isn’t a better life or feeling known to man. As the Bible says in I Timothy 6:19, this is “the life that is truly life”.
This is what we were meant for and made for.
Oh, that I will make it to the end and be found faithful. And I pray that I will help others to live their lives with such crystal clear vision about their white hot “what and why” that they can say with Jesus, the ultimate example, “It is finished”.
Then we can all declare with the Apostle Paul “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith”. Talk about living with your eyes on the prize right to the very end.
“God, help us by your grace to be faithful and fruitful with the precious lives you’ve given us.”