How to Pursue Making the Most of Your Life for the Glory of God, part 1

I met my wife on a trip to Africa.

I was a baby. Well, not quite a baby. Twenty years old. I had been planning on leading a team of students to China. But, that trip got canceled. I was redirected to Africa. It must have been obvious I needed help, so they gave me the best assistant leader they had, Marda.

As we got the team ready to go, I kept making mistakes and she kept fixing them. I started telling people she was going to make someone a great wife someday. In the middle of Africa, I stopped telling people that because I was praying she would make me a great wife someday.

She definitely has.

We grew to love each other in Africa that summer and God put a special burden on our heart for the people there. But then we went back to school, and on to seminary and got a little sidetracked. For one thing, we had our first baby and I thought I had to figure out a way to support our family, and for another, I believed I was called to preach and wasn’t sure how that would work with helping orphans.

So we went and worked in a church in Pennsylvania, and yet for some reason, that burden wouldn’t seem to go away.

It was actually a little confusing at first. We loved what we were doing. But we had a longing to serve God by serving the poor and specifically helping orphans. When you are young, you want to live your whole life at once, and be everywhere and do everything, and so it was a little difficult for us to discern whether we just had that youthful wanderlust, or whether God was calling us to go.

In the meantime, we kept serving and telling everyone, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could go to Africa and serve in the church and help orphans? And they would look at us as if we were strange. Finally we started wondering, maybe we are strange. Or maybe God gave us this particular burden at this particular moment for a particular reason.

Just because everyone is not as passionate about what you are passionate about doesn’t necessarily mean they are wrong, and it doesn’t always mean you are wrong either.

It might just mean that God gave you a particular burden.

Let’s take George Mueller as an example. He’s one of my heroes. George Mueller decided he wanted to glorify God by starting orphanages without ever asking anyone for money. He would only pray if he had a need. Now, that’s amazing. And God used that decision in a powerful way. But does that mean every person serving Jesus needs to do it that way? You are going to have a hard time proving that biblically, and yet of course, again, we are glad George Mueller did.

There are certain things that are non-negotiable for every Christian. They are there in the Bible in black and white. You can put your finger on the verse. Love your neighbor as yourself. Pure and undefiled religion is this, to visit orphans and widows in their distress. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. We could go on and on. You need to look at those commands. And you need to think about what it means for you to obey those commands. As you do, God may place certain specific ways of carrying out those commands on your heart. You may feel like your way of carrying out those commands is a really good way. And you may think others should try to carry out those commands the way you are carrying out those commands. That’s great. Maybe God is raising you up to encourage believers to go further, to do more, to be more passionate. But be careful as you, that you remember, there may be other ways to obey those commands that are just as valid. It doesn’t mean you have to be less passionate or excited about what God’s calling you to do, it just means you probably should work at being really gracious with others who are different as you do.

Unfortunately, while that’s easy to say, it’s not always as easy to figure out in practice and it took Marda and I about 7 years to finally move to Africa with our three daughters, McKenna, Cambria and Caitlyn. Marda was pregnant when we arrived in Pretoria, and it was only a couple months later, our fourth daughter was born.

But here’s the lesson I wanted to share.

How do you pursue making the most of your life?

God gave you a background, burdens, skills and talents to use for His glory.

So think about it.

That doesn’t seem too complicated a place to start, does it?

But still, I need you to be patient with me for a minute. Because I am going to rant a little. You see I am kind of passionate about people who are not passionate. And, honestly I hope I am not being hypocritical, but I am not really talking about personality now. Not everyone has to be passionate in the same way everyone else is passionate. I am not talking about the way you express your passions, I am talking about having a passion, a burden.

God gave you a background, burdens, skills and talents to use for His glory.

So, think about what you think matters.

What skills has God given you? What talents? What do you do well that you can use to serve Jesus?

Now one problem we have in America is that we all want to be heroes. So you have to be careful you hear what I am saying correctly. I am not talking about having to do something that everyone in the world says is amazing and living the kind of life where people want to write biographies about you. If you try to make this about you being great, you are going to end up disappointed and honestly disappointing the people around you. This is not about you. This is about Jesus. This is about realizing that you belong to God, He designed you to glorify Him, your life on earth is short, and thinking about how you are supposed to live the particular life he gave you to make Him look great.

If you are a Christian, you have been supernaturally gifted by God for a purpose so you have to think about how you can use that gift. In 1 Peter 4:10, Peter says, “As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” so if you are going to live your life well, you need use that gift for service.

How?

Here’s where you can start.

Become part of a local church. Look out for needs there. Get to know others. Think about how you specifically can help them. Work at developing relationships with the leaders of that church, and as you do, humbly ask them for help evaluating your burdens and your gifting. If they don’t see it, listen, and if they do get behind you and get excited about equipping and supporting you, step out in faith and obedience. You are not the Savior of the world, you are not the hope of the whole planet, but, God has put you on the planet for a reason and He has given you the gifts He has given you for a reason, and He’s with you, at work in you, so that you can live this life He’s given you for His glory.

So, what’s stopping you?

Go for it.

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