Thursday, November 21, 2019

Choosing the Best Over the Good

"For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” – Ephesians 2:8-10

Does it really matter where you live or what occupation you might pursue?  The answer is, it depends.  What does it depend upon?  It is pretty simple really.  It depends upon God’s revealed will for your life. People have grappled over what exactly God’s will is for centuries. Some speak of His permissive will versus His expressed will.  What God will allow versus what God has declared. It does not matter if you live in Chicago or Timbuktu (that is a city in Mali by the way). It does not matter if you are a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker.  It does not matter unless God has spoken differently.  Unless He has said “Go” or He has said “Do”.

So what if He has? What if you don’t go or you don’t do? I guess the answer starts with another question.  Why didn’t you go or do? The answer is always , “Because I decided there was something more important to do or somewhere more important to go. Something that was more appealing to me”

As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’ He said to another man, ‘Follow me.’ But he replied, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’ Jesus said to him, ‘Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.’ Still another said, ‘I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say goodbye to my family.’ Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.’” – Luke 9:58-62

What those men asked Jesus to allow was reasonable – good, but it was not the best. There will always be a tension between the good and the best when it comes to doing God’s will. Obeying God always requires denying yourself.  That requires faith.  Confidence in the One who calls and sends. A willingness to do what He says in spite of the wisdom of the world. And what if you choose poorly? You decide to say “No” to God and “Yes” to your own plan? Well, you won’t lose your salvation – but you will miss the best that God has in mind for you.  You may not be given another opportunity. Does that really matter to you? Your life will answer that question.

This was brought home to me when we were serving in Mississippi.  We were surrounded by destruction and misery day after day.  It was not a pleasant place to be. A volunteer asked me, “Do you like being in Mississippi?” A reasonable question. We were there for five years.  Very often volunteers would be with us for a few days and by the end were more than ready to go home.  Well, I thought about the question and then had a realization – or was it a revelation or maybe it was an epiphany. I answered, “There is nothing better than being in the center of God’s will for my life.  Geography has nothing to do with it.” I realized that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. My sense of contentment was not founded on my circumstance or my comfort, but on my obedience to God’s call and will.  Pastor Rick Warren said, “God is more concerned about your character than your comfort.” What are you more concerned about? Really. It will be proven out by the choices you make.

Whether you are a missionary or a mom in this life – it is all good but don’t be satisfied with merely the good when God has something better in mind.  Pursue the best – to be in the center of God’s will for your life.  Fulfill your purpose, the one God has planned for you. It might be to be a light – right where you are or maybe in Timbuktu.  Geography doesn’t matter!

By Faith Alone By His Grace Alone And For His Glory Alone

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