The other day I heard someone make a comment about how missionaries are willing to put their lives “on hold” in order to answer God’s call to serve. I don’t know if they really intended to say that, but something about it really bothered me.
I think maybe it struck a nerve because I am often tempted to ignore the Present in my looking to the Future. As I’ve shared, I gave Students International a three-year commitment. Some people have asked me what my plans are after I leave. I have to confess, at times, especially when I’m tired and frustrated, I find myself day-dreaming about what may be next.
While I don’t think it’s wrong to look forward, I have to ask, what am I missing in the Now by being focus on Then?
When the Israelites were taken away to Babylon, God sent word through Jeremiah that they were not to put their lives on hold waiting for Him to release them. Instead, they were to plant gardens, build homes, get married, have children (Jeremiah 29). Although they were captives and strangers in a strange land, they were to live their lives.
The apostle Paul wrote that our citizenship is in Heaven, and we are to eagerly await our returning Savior (Philippians 3:20). No one can deny Paul was Heaven-focused, desiring to be there with Jesus. But, no one can say his life was on hold, either! Even in prison, he spent his final days sharing the Gospel with his captors.
Interestingly, that same day’s reading from My Utmost for His Highest, addressed this. “What we see as only the process of reaching a particular end, God sees as the goal itself… God’s training is for now, not later. His purpose is for this very minute, not for sometime in the future.”
Each one of us is called to live our lives right now. God is at work in us… right now. As Chambers says, He has a purpose for our lives this very minute. We can either live out this truth, or try and trick ourselves into thinking some future moment is when our lives will really begin. I think that’s dangerous.
I remember graduating from high school and thinking, Ah, now that I’m going to college, life is really going to start. Then it was graduating from college and starting full-time work. Then marriage. At each step, life did change, but I didn’t feel that deep contentment I was expecting. That sense of arriving didn’t come. Why not? I think my mindset was all wrong.
The truth is, we don’t know from moment to moment if we’ll have another breath to take. Jesus died to give us life, abundant life. Yes, it will be made perfect in Heaven, but until then, we are to live. We can live fully Now because we know that we have the hope of Then.
The world needs to see us living that abundant life. Abundant, not because we have all kinds of stuff, but because we pour ourselves out completely, knowing that this broken earth is not the end of the story.
We can live without holding back, without being “on hold” because we have a future hope. That is the Good News each of us is called to share. Not at some point later when we feel fully equipped to do so, but right now.
And so, today, as I head out for our final week of summer outreaches, part of my mind is already on vacation and the work that follows. Again, that’s not all bad, but I don’t want to just get through the next days. I want to live in them fully.
Only in the power of the One who has all of our days in the palm of His hand is this possible. I'm so thankful that He invites me to that abundant, full-out life. May I live each day, each moment, as precious. Precious because each one is an opportunity to spend with Him, sharing His love, seeing Him at work.
Thank you, Father, that You are not "on hold" but continue to draw us to You. May we pour out our lives in that hope and confidence.