What is important in our lives right now? Could we come up with a list? Or still, would we want to come up with a list? If we were to take out a piece of paper and put down in plain English, most important to me is first. . .second. . .third and so on; what kind of things would we see there?
Now whether we actually do get out that piece of paper, no one will ever know; but even if we don’t, just think for a minute what is important to us? Then take that list, either actually or mentally, and hold it up to the Word of God; and in light of what The Word says, how does it measure up?
How are our goals, our hopes, our dreams, our desires different from the young people of the world? We know there should be a difference. Is there? Are the differences that noticeable, or do our lives mirror to such an extent those of the world that we would be embarrassed if we had to admit it.
Perhaps we have read about men and women who have faced a very serious crisis in their life, such as a serious illness, or who have survived a terrible car accident. After that crisis is past their lives are changed. Suddenly the goals of their lives. do not seem so important after all. They see their lives from a different vantage point.
Isn’t it sad, and all too revealing about our own lives, that often something serious has to happen to either us or to a loved one before we in turn draw closer to God. Often at these particular times we realize how much power that old man of sin still has over us. Our goals are not what they should be; and without proper goals, our lives become shallow and empty. By God’s grace, however, we see how much further we have to go. And we begin to realize that if our goals in this life are going to be important, then we will need God’s guidance. Then we shift gears, and we begin to think, and we check our ambitions and goals against the check-list of God’s Word; and it tells us what is worthy of investment.
Haven’t we heard it over and over again from our pastors that all of our life involves a constant and continuing conversion or turning unto the Lord. Each of us has to grow and mature as Christians so that in God’s plan for us we come to the point where we turn our eyes upon Jesus and look at His wonderful face and ask: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” With that confession we have a solid rock from which to begin the process of the life-long decisions that we face.
The world has only one goal, and that is to be successful and productive. And it is so easy to get caught up and swept away by that as well. Look around us for a moment; the idea is everywhere; it screams out at us from every conceivable medium the world has at its disposal.
We could all do with a lot less, but would we be content with less? For example, if we were content to earn a simple living, instead of one that has to include all the extras that we have come to associate with a successful life style; then perhaps our lives would be much less frenzied and perhaps even more comfortable. But we get caught up in all the extras we feel we have to have. And our pursuit of these extras can leave little time for God or His Church.
You, young people, are also faced with this whole question of what place this issue of success will play in your lives. Will it become an only goal in your lives? Will it be the only direction you point all of your efforts? Are you going to school to receive an education which will enable you to serve your Creator? Or are you going to school to receive an education that will enable you to make more money?
Don’t we often admire those who have the best cars, or the fastest boats, or the ones who always seem to have enough money to do whatever they want whenever they want to do it?
Today we, young people, have almost limitless opportunities for fun and pleasure. All these extras, all these goals, often good and honorable in themselves, clutter our lives. We want to have it all, and there often seems to be no room for anything Spiritual, anything that we could consider as a Christian goal.
But these extras also add to our lives. How do we go about preventing these material gifts, the very things the world places so much value on, from becoming curses?
First we have to learn to say “no”. This means we have to learn sales resistance. The press, books, magazines, TV, and our own friends can all tease and entice us into believing that bigger is better, more is better, and newer is better. We do not have to listen to all these sales pitches. We can leave the TV and radio off once in a while. We can avoid books and magazines articles that would have us believe that success and its life-style are the only important things.
And the most important of all, we have to turn to the Word of God. For in His Word we find all the answers to the many problems and questions we face. There is absolutely no problem too big for the Word of God to solve.
The apostle Paul states in the fourth chapter of Philippians that he has learned that in “whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content”.
We have to learn just what our limitations are. What are our strengths and our weaknesses, and once we know them, to be content to live in their boundaries. We don’t have to be successful at everything. With careful consideration of what God would have us to do, we can narrow our objectives down to those that are realistic and attainable. And when these goals are tucked into our hearts, we will find that our Spiritual goals will also become more clear. For to be content with what God provides for our lives is the direct result of Spiritual maturity.
And Spiritual maturity is our goal. So that when the Lord returns from that far country as we read of in Matthew 25, and requires of each of us what we did with the talents we were given, that when we tell Him, He will in turn say of us: “Well done thou good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of thy Lord”.