What Really Counts
If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand — shine! - (Matthew 5:15, MSG)
These are questions every believer should ask, because if you have no goals or purpose, you can waste your life. As I have often said, if you aim at nothing, you’re bound to hit it.
Many people simply want to prolong their lives rather than try to find their purpose in life. Certainly medical science is helping us live longer lives. We can add years to our lives, but we can’t add life to our years. Should our primary goal be to prolong our lives, or should it be to live life to its fullest?
Jim Elliot was fresh out of college when he felt the call of God to go to the mission field. Tragically, Jim and four other young missionaries lost their lives in the jungles of Ecuador in an attempt to reach others with the gospel. It might seem like a terrible waste of life for such a young man with so much promise. But after his death, this entry was found in one of his journals: “I seek not a long life, but a full one, like You, Lord Jesus.”
That is a good goal: to live a full life, a life with meaning and purpose. We don’t know how long we will live; that’s up to God. But life isn’t merely a matter of years. It’s a matter of how we live. It isn’t the years that count but what you do with those years.
Sometimes heartaches, trials, and tragedies can threaten to squeeze all of the meaning out of life. In our darkest moments, we may even wonder why God leaves us on the planet. But if our heavenly Father has chosen to give us life for another day, we can be sure that He has a purpose in doing so. We need to wait on Him, keep our eyes open to every opportunity, and trust Him daily for the grace to keep us going.
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When God doesn’t make sense, when it seems that He is asleep, when it feels like He doesn’t care, we must remind ourselves of His promises. Going back to God’s promises, we find something that we desperately need in those hard times: perspective.
That eternal perspective is the focus of Dr. James Dobson’s book When God Doesn’t Make Sense, which we’re offering as a thank-you to anyone who gives a gift of support to Harvest Ministries this month.