Monday, March 28, 2011

Living Life Outside the Sweet Spot

My family and I had the privilege to spend a week in Mexico with our very own tour guide, translator and babysitter all in one person. Meredith Hardy is quite a girl and she sure made our trip extra special by being there. But the time with Meredith also gave me a chance to get to know her heart a little bit more. And what I saw was a heart for the world and a desire to follow God wherever He might lead her. She remained in Mexico, in part, to see if that is a place He just might want her to be.
This was so refreshing and somewhat unique in the conversations I have had with people her age. More often, I see her peers looking for that “sweet spot” where God uniquely places them in a career that perfectly matches their passion so they go to work every day knowing they are doing exactly what God wants them to do. It usually includes a comfortable salary with familiar surroundings, a house, 2 know the rest of the story. Somehow, this “sweet spot” lifestyle is equated with being in the center of God’s will.
But what if God calls you to do something outside of the “sweet spot”? Something outside the familiar surroundings, comfortable salary or even outside your driving passion. Are you willing to live outside of the “sweet spot” if that happens to be the center of God’s will? Meredith reminded me how important it is to follow God, trusting His passion more than our own, and seeking His will for our life as the only “sweet spot” we should desire.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Writing on the Wall

This morning, I read from Deuteronomy 8 as Moses recounted God's loving discipline of His people in order that He might "humble them" and "test them" so that "He might know what was in their heart." (v2) All the while, God continued to care for the Israelites with food to eat and water to drink. Moses reminds his people that even "their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell." (v4)
As a result, the nation prospers. They multiply in both number and wealth. And so Moses warns them: "Beware lest you say in your heart 'My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth'. You shall remember the Lord your God is the one who gave you this wealth. And if you forget the Lord and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God." (vv 17,20)
Having just returned from Mexico City, I couldn't help but consider these verses in the context of this trip. I look at the decay of the Mexican culture - the governmental corruption, the sexual immorality, the drug induced violence and the oppressive economic disparity - and I see a culture that has not obeyed the voice of the Lord. But then I look at my own country and I wonder, "Is this the writing on the wall? Are we on a path that perishes as we follow the pattern of spiritual decay of nations that have gone before us? Will our outcome not be the same if we too proclaim, "My power and my might have gotten me this wealth."?
Please understand that this is not a political commentary or the platitudes of someone who believes that America is a Christian nation. For I do not. Moses even warned the nation of Israel, "Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them (your enemies) out before you, 'Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to the possess the land,' but it is because of the wickedness of those nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you." (9:4)
This is an issue of God's kingdom work and the call of His people to live a life worthy of the gospel of Christ. The call for Christians to stand firm in one spirit with one mind, striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Phil 1:27)
I am not one to predict the coming of the Lord but one thing I do know because of the testimony of scripture - the day of His return has been set. Therefore, today is one day closer to that day! And as we look at all the events on the world scene, I can't help but see the birth pains of His imminent return.
May we hear the words of Moses as if He speaks them anew to us today: “Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it. You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always." (Deuteronomy 10:14, 20–21, 11:1 ESV)
As followers of Jesus Christ, may we be that people. Especially in times like these...and even more as the day draws near.