One of the common prayers, we pray over those we love is "God please send…
The Road to Nowhere
I heard a song the other day based on Lewis Carol’s Alice in Wonderland where the Cheshire cat said to Alice, “If you don’t know where you are going any road will take you there”. The music was catchy, upbeat, and inspiring. I found myself singing along before I realized the words I was repeating. I was singing a chorus I would never want to live out. Life certainly feels easier when you lack a clear purpose because people don’t expect much from you. They aren’t threatened by you or your goals and they don’t find you to be controversial.
The only problem is that Jesus would never encourage you to live that way. His purpose was so clear that others had no choice but to reach a conclusion about Him. He demonstrated His power and authority so clearly that
neutrality was never possible. He was either the Son of God who had come to save the world or He was the greatest threat on earth.
After Lazarus was raised from the dead, “many of the Jews who had come to visit Mary, and had seen what Jesus did, believed in him.” (John 11:45) They could not deny the power and saw the compassion in the miracle. They had never met anyone like Him and they had no reason to be afraid of Him even though they had a healthy respect for Him.
Not everyone was so excited, however. “Some of them went to the Pharisees and told them what Jesus had done. Then the chief priests and the Pharisees called a meeting of the Sanhedrin.” (John 11:46-7) Isn’t that awesome? God did an amazing miracle so people called for a committee meeting to review the results! This group of people was threatened by Jesus’ compassionate power. They couldn’t deny that He had performed a legitimate miracle but they wished He hadn’t. Jesus could have avoided the confrontation and met up with Lazarus in eternity but His purpose was clear. He could have quickly left the home of Mary and Martha to reduce the conflict but He knew where He was going. He was on the path of securing salvation for men and women and He was determined to give everyone a clear choice. He was not content to be subtle, silent, or secretive. He would present everyone who came in contact with Him irrefutable evidence of His true identity so they would all have to decide whether they would embrace Him as their advocate or oppose Him as an adversary.
It is clear that the leaders were frightened by His influence, “If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation and . . . from that day on they plotted to take his life.” (v. 48, 53)
Now it is our choice. We must all answer two strategic questions. First, we must ask, “What will we do with Jesus?” He cannot be ignored so He must either be trusted as the source of salvation or He must be rejected to our own peril. Second, we must ask, “Will we seek a clear purpose at the risk of making others uncomfortable or will we take the safe road that neither offends much nor offers much?” As for me, I’ve never found the safest road to be very attractive.
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I definitely agree that we need to live with purpose and direction, with the goal to live a live that pleases God. For years I sat on the Christian sidelines and didn’t do much serving. I didn’t want to be over-committed with my schedule. Running a business and trying to be there for the family was my plan.
Lately I’ve been trying to be more proactive in serving Christ and the Church. Since I own a commercial photo business and have a lot of equipment and skills in that area, I reached out to our church (New Community Church of Vista) to see if I can help with their video productions. The result has been that I’m connected with some good talented people and I get to use my talents in a way that directly serves the Church. I also get to learn some new stuff with video and have also made some new friends along the way. It has taken some extra time and occasionally has not been convenient (like working on a video shoot on Memorial Day), but it has been rewarding. Karen and I help pick-up food for a food ministry associated with Calvary Chapel. I’ve also been try to help our missionary friend Glenn Davis, both with trying to help promote him and also giving to him personally. I’m not mentioning the stuff above to show what a great guy I am. Just that the opportunities to serve are there and sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone to find them and make it happen.
Hopefully serving like this will cause more people to confront the question of who Jesus is and what are they going to do with him. I know I personally need to learn to love Him more and serve Him the best I can.
That’s inspirational Ken – I agree with taking on the needs of the church with our talents directly (in addition to financial stewardship). As you pointed out it is very personally rewarding to serve Christ through the specific gifts He has given us and as a wonderful symbiotic bonus (thanks again God!) it makes it very easy to be ‘known by our fruit’.
Living out purpose brings fulfillment.
My initial thought from Christ Himself; clearly He wants us to act with purpose and not acting at all seems to be preferable to acting without purpose:
Rev 3:15 ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot.
Rev 3:16 ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.
Yikes! May it never be.