Have you ever gotten so involved with something that you have lost sight of everything that is important in your life? Of course you have; we all have. It is like the husband who mourned the death of his wife and built her a grand hall in memorial. However, he got so lost in the project that he ended up throwing out her body in the process. So now we have the Taj Mahal as a reminder of what happens when we lose sight of our purpose in the midst of the journey. When this happens to me I go back to three places in the Bible to regain my footing: the Psalms, Proverbs and the gospel of John.
Psalm 1 is a great grounding psalm. It reminds us of the greatest priority in our lives, that living is not enough, and living for God must be our center:
God blesses those people
who refuse evil advice
and won’t follow sinners
or join in sneering at God.
2 Instead, the Law of the Lord
makes them happy,
and they think about it
day and night. (Psalm 1:1-2, CEV)
It is far too easy to take short cuts in life, to set aside what is right to gain personally in our finances. But righteousness is important to God and effects our relationship when it is not our priority. But this righteousness does not come from the law but instead from a love for the Lord. It is like any other love. When we love someone we would never desire to do them wrong. God's love for us has given us a life possible through grace. We do not earn it by living a law. But our heart response is to want to please and honour our God. There is right and there is wrong in life and our love for Jesus will give us a desire to do what is right. This desire for righteousness sets us apart:
They are like trees
growing beside a stream,
trees that produce
fruit in season
and always have leaves.
Those people succeed
in everything they do. (vv. 3-4)
For me, this is the secret of life. I can labour until my dying day and do marginally well for myself. I will be known as a hard worker but it doesn't mean I was fruitful. Many people work hard and see limited success but God has promised to bless the work of the hands of his children. I do not believe this means nominal success. I believe this means fruitfulness in a way that the world will be able to see the hand of God.
This does not mean oodles of money. Success is more than just money so why should be allow this to be our measuring rod? Fruitfulness means abundance in relationships, health, attitude, outlook, love, joy, wisdom and everything else in life. It is not a "getting by" or a "marginal" attitude but a great generosity in everything, including finances. It has been given to us, as God's children to produce abundantly.
That's why I love going back to these verses to get re-established. I need to know that mediocre is not what I have been called to. I need to be reminded that God's plan is so much greater than my own. I need to be reminded that God has greater purposes in my success that just for my sake and yet blessings for me is included in his plan. If I do not feel the creative juices flowing, if I have become unaware of the blessings, if I am feeling drained, then my roots are not in the stream of the water of life. These verses are a warning sign to me. It is like God is holding up a picture to show me what it is suppose to look like.
So, have I lost it? Have I lost the purpose in the busyness of the project? Has my vision so narrowed that I have thrown out the baby while holding on to the bath water? The honest answer for me is yes. But such honesty is only valuable if I am going to do something about it and this blog entry is a beginning step to get back to my first love. A baby step but it is a step. It all comes down to love, a passionate love, a love response in light of what Jesus has done and the Father continues to do every day. I am so thankful for his grace, which never gives up on people like me. I am so thankful for the mercies that are new every morning.