It’s been interesting in my life recently.
Back in my school days the school gave me a brown folder called a National Record of Achievement within which I could put all my school reports and certificates and the such like to mark the passing of my time at school. My beloved wife dug it out, and my two older daughters were interested to read what their Dad was like at school.
It was really interesting seeing the two girls muse on what I got up to back in the day. It was particularly noteworthy that my oldest daughter found something I wrote 20 years ago where I said I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. Funny how that worked out in a way I was not expecting. I reached the goal, but certainly not by the means I had anticipated.
It was interesting for the girls to read through and get excited about. As I reflected on it, I saw God’s grace in my life from that time to this, and it suddenly brought some startling clarity to something.
I do not want to waste time.
Around that time of childhood and into my 20’s I’d get caught up with many good ideas, many noble plans, many suggestions with good intentions. I’d get caught up with them for a few days, and then after a while I’d get bored and move onto the next exciting idea I had. When marriage came along and the responsibility of children, it took a while for me to understand that family focus is an important investment of my life.
Greater still, however, was how that family focus reflected a light on how I was investing the majority of my life. Was I chasing after flights of fantasy that lead nowhere? Was I ever dreaming and never planting the real seeds for progress and change?
What was I doing with my life?
Even recently the question came up again as many noble ideas and schemes were brought my way. Enticing and brilliantly laid out ideas and schemes that on another occasion I’d have grabbed with both hands. On this occasion, however, it was clear that there was something amiss – and the missing element was the will of God. It was activity for the sake of activity, which would lead to futility, because Jesus would not go with me in it.
As I sang with the choir lately, it occurred to me that if I didn’t wholeheartedly give my best to the initiative, my failing would let down the group. Choirs are great places to learn how pivotal your part is in the whole. Thus how important it is to know your part, see how it fits in the larger scheme and devote yourself to doing your role to the best of your ability for the benefit of the whole. As the whole benefits, so the harmonies really flow into the ear and heart of every listener and the whole delivers something far greater than the sum of its parts.
When that delivery concerns messages of the gospel, of the mission of Jesus, of the love of God and the saving power of His Spirit, suddenly lives are forever changed. Not because we’re gifted singers, but because we’re passionate, authentic servants of the Most High delivering the greatest gift any listener would wish to hear.
That again comes about because we’re devoted to what He wants us to do. We’re not distracted with other things. Our eyes are on the Author and Finisher of our faith. We can then declare the things we’d like to be in Him, and see Him lead us along paths of righteousness. Though there are twists and turns, there’s a story of victory, of liberty and of hope. We can share that stories to our children and anyone else who would love to hear of how we went from there to here.
Then we can tell them that old, old story …
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden