Rapidly moving toward my 62nd birthday in about one week, this season always causes me to reflect upon the last year and assess what value might have been added to my life accomplishments. Yes, my life and your life should count for more than simply doing time on the earth!
However, as I grow “more mature” I sense the responsibility for making these autumn days count more than ever, while enjoying the privilege of a growing date base of life experience, adding value to my ability to understand life. Growing older, though “not for sissies”, is a good thing.
That expanding base of information is particularly beneficial on mornings or during seasons when one has been overly human in their attempts at life, when sensing that particular efforts might have been somewhat futile or less than fruitful. To a person desiring an impact-full life that can be disturbing!
That’s where a daily devotional habit comes in handy. The Word of God never fails in providing remedy for the blues that come with the realities of our tendency toward failure. Often in remote scriptures that seem newly implanted in this ageless document we call the Bible, we find the respite necessary to pick ourselves up, shake ourselves off and get back in the journey.
Such was the case for me this morning as I read Luke 8 while completing another chapter in the book, Radical by David Platt. I found David’s stories of men and women who have taken on a global lifestyle of service to the Lord cause to reassess my own journey, and especially certain lost energies this past year with what now seem to have been misguided ventures, at least personally.
Luke begins the chapter, “Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God.” This amazing man was forever on the go for God! With him, were the twelve and “also some women, who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases.” Here is where the first Aha emerged.
Unlike myself, constantly struggling to create income and at the same time serve both God and community without obligation to others (the American way), Jesus just went about the work of the Father, seemingly with out regard for his personal needs, while God provided. Luke names three women, one a former prostitute previously possessed by seven demons, the other a housewife and the third, the manager of Herod’s household, her income potential may have been above average? “These women were helping support them out of their own means.” It seems that Jesus had learned to depend on God’s economy rather than creating His own, a hard lesson for me as the son of a blue-collar craftsman, who drove deep a sense of obligatory work ethic.
Of course, living within this kingdom economy brings with it admonitions taught also by Christ, that one must be willing to forsake all others for the cause; at times sell all your goods; give to the poor and be willing to be compared with foxes, which at least have dens, when one occiasionally finds themselves homeless. This is not the American Dream…a subtitle to Platt’s book: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream.
At this point I found myself struggling as I compared my life to the life of the Son of God; having always aspired to leave my daughter and wife with more wealth than we began our life with…I have been infected by America! Had my soon to be, 40 year journey with Christ been in vain?
Now the second Aha: the parable of the farmer sowing seed. This timely story has entered my eye gate dozens of times but this a.m. it provided a moment of reconciliation as I repented for my proud arrogance and the thought that to this point I had had to depend on no one; which seems to be coming to an end as the economy dwindles, my body ages and my less than adequate capacity to generate serious wealth is revealed.
Oh, my family is blessed, and thankfully, we have lived a life disciplined by a debt free approach to spending; so this is not about crying in my milk! Simply reassessing life as I bring closure to another year, learn from my mistakes and launch into the vision He has for the years ahead.
The Aha, “some seed fell along the path and was trampled.” other seed he explains was eaten by birds. Some fell on a rock and lacked the moisture (resources) to mature, while some fell among thorns and was later choked. However, some, though possibly only a small percentage of his seed (effort), fell on good soil and the crop was one hundred times more than the seed he had sown!
There it was, the story of my humanness and a renewed hope for my life! Though many of my efforts have been soiled by my inept attempts at doing great things, His word assures me that a small percentage among my many false starts will find fertile soil, and make up the difference multiple times over for all the others!
God is good, I am human! So I will press on!