If years had rankings, most of us would put 2020 on the bottom of the best list. In your lifetime, has any year come packed with more toxicity than the last? No aspect of life was left out of the maelstrom. If we had a way to elect a do-over year, I suspect that ’20 would win in a landslide.
With that common view, what can we do – individually, or in community – to assure that 2021 will come out of the shadow of its predecessor and emit the glow of hope?
That’s what we’re addressing in this Monday morning time-out. We’re laying the groundwork for a great year, and this short series is back-to-basics, for sure. You and I are alive for one thing: everything we do is to work toward the certainty that God is being glorified. That’s it, period.
That sounds very declarative, doesn’t it? Is there a respected authority whom I can cite to confirm that conclusion? If you hold to the inspiration of the Scriptures – that God the Holy Spirit was communicating to His creation through select human scribes – this succinct statement from Paul the Apostle is informative: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Whatever we do has, as an ultimate purpose, the elevation of God’s recognition by His creation. His glory is our ultimate purpose in life.
Two weeks ago, we recognized that our lives – by disciplined effort – have to prove to Him that we’re good-to-go, on His behalf. If the transformation – from unfit to fitting – cannot be modeled in my life when it’s on display, I cannot expect to bring Him glory.
Last week, we learned that we have to become clear about our unique, God-given assignment (what the Bible dubs our calling) and complete it before we die. Jesus demonstrated the transition from career – what we’re paid for – to calling – what we’re made for – as a strategy to glorify His Father.
Today is the third-of-four steps to ensure that our pattern of life allows a sustainable contribution to God’s glory: we must constantly evaluate the results of our service to Him as validation of our engagements.
Jesus is a source of wisdom on this crucial matter. The night before His sacrifice on Calvary, He told the Apostles at the Last Supper: “This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples” (John 15:8). In the stewardship of our lives to glorify God, what are the outcomes that prove our efficacy?
In the marketplace, we talk a lot about the bottom line. What are the outcomes we work to enable? Unless that is clear, lots of valuable time and money can disappear without consequence.
God the Holy Spirit is active in your life to make you a better person. His work produces results: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).
Don’t mistake the fruit of the Spirit for the fruit of your life Calling. God is at work in you to make you a better person; He has called you to be at work in His Kingdom to produce disciples. Your efforts – singly, and in community – toward that end are critical to bring glory to Him.
Farmers understand clearly: protecting a bushel of seeds is counter-productive to the harvest. Wisely scattering that bushel across the ground will multiply the seeds. “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds” (John 12:23-24). Save your life… and you’ll lose. Sacrifice your life… and you’ll win. Jesus demonstrated that; the yield from His death has resulted in billions of humans who will be with Him in the Hereafter. He did His part; what about us?
My calling – in action – conducted in collaboration with others will result in real people who turn from death to Life who will populate Heaven for Eternity. I’ve been directly involved in that process for decades and I know that my efforts have helped to produce tangible results: names added to the Lamb’s book.
By what metric will you measure the success of your lifetime?