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I’ll begin today’s Conversation Starter with a look at biblical scripture …
I’ll be reading from 1 Timothy chapter 6 verses 6 through 21 it reads:
The other day i was speaking with a co-worker who was relaying to me her desires to pursue a specific career path. She mentioned that she was trying to get into this particular industry because she felt she would be good at it.
However, not having any experience in the industry I advised her to start small and explore a few localized options to get her feet wet to see if this was indeed something she should put her energy into pursuing for the long run.
I relayed to her my previous experience within this industry and forewarned her on a few things that she may not have considered.
After conversing with her a bit more, she stated that she felt like she had to be a certain type of person in order to stand out from others trying to do the same thing.
That really she i’snt this person that she feels she needs to be in order to get in this type of industry and “make it”
BUT that she is willing to do it for the sake of gain.
Or should I say perceived… hopeful …gain.
In addition to this, she felt like she was really only doing it because in her words she wants to “move up in this world” and have a “better life” for her and her children, and the punchline of it all ladies and gentlemen she said “well you know so I can just live a more comfortable life.”
How many of us have said this?
I said to her in response to her statement or should I say confession, that it sounds like there is a disconnect between the person you are and the person you are trying to be. And that you need to reconcile the incongruency that lies within you.
This reconciliation is key because it will be a defining moment in your life that will set you on the course of either comfort and compromise or peace and contentment.
I mentioned to her that there are very few cliches that I endorse or uphold as true, but there is one that I’m finding to be quite true and that is the notion that “nice guys (or gals) finish last”…that is, i told her, in THIS world….according to the ways and games of the material secular society.
However, in the world of a different society ….that I personally ascribe to ….the reverse is true- essentially the rules in this world declare that the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
I continued explaining what I meant by this by telling her that it is rare that you will find someone who the secular world deems as “successful” as someone who has maintained traits such as honesty and integrity over the span of their “climb”……and I’m not even going to mention the Galatians 5 attributes such as meekness, self-control, gentleness and love.
Yet we exalt these individuals as not only the mark but the the method to live by because they have amassed an earthly empire or level of status that has allowed them to live a life, on the surface, as “comfortable.”
They parade a life that seems as though they can do what they want, when they want, where they want and for however long they want to do it.
Yes, in many eyes, the ultimate reward of comfort.
Yet this “reward,” underneath its layers has more than likely come at a high cost to both themselves and others.
You can simply flip on the news to see the many cases of celebrities and well-to-do business moguls who have overdosed, committed suicide, or are in litigation for taking advantage of something or someone.
Even at a micro-level….when interviewed many “successful” people make claims of regrets for simply not spending enough time with their children, spouses or families.
Now I know what you are thinking….Krystle are you saying that all “successful” people in this world got to where they are because they lied, cheated and compromised their way to a “better life”? Are you taking away all the hard work and dedication they put in to get to where they are?
Well, the short answer to this is – No, not at all.
What I am trying to illuminate, however, is the blind tendency that we often unconsciously measure our lives by ….for which we make decisions that have not been fully calculated or considered.
We ignorantly compare ourselves to the individuals who seem to have the lifestyle and level of comfort we desire.
Once we conclude that our lives are “not enough” or that we “need” more in order to be comfortable – we hop on the treadmill for the chase of comfort.
We put in laborious work for this chase without considering the cost and without equally working toward gaining revelation of the purpose of life.
Speaking of purpose, many of you have heard of Rick Warren’s “The purpose driven life” book that was written in the early 2000’s.
It is a best seller many times over – that for moment in time – inspired millions of people to stop and think about why we are here and for what purpose.
Yet, for some ….the message quickly got lost in the sauce of pursuits of finding purpose in passion and desire.
This pursuit of finding purpose (and comfort) through passion has become a cultural phenomenon that has swept through many Ted Talks, motivational speakers and life-coaching sessions.
But when we search scripture to test this ideology we stumble across passages like Matthew 6 and Psalm 39 verses 4-7 that remind us of the fleeting nature this life promises and the eternally lasting one that is to come.
Psalm 39 states: Lord, make me to know my end, and what is the measure of my days, That I may know how frail I am. Indeed, You have made my days as handbreaths, and my age is nothing before You; Certainly every person at their best state is but vapor. Surely every person walks about like a shadow; Surely they busy themselves in vain; They heap up riches, And do not know who will gather them. And now Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in You.
If I could exchange that last phrase to emphasize this message today it would say… “and now what do I chase after? My pursuit is in You Lord.”
See I cant find one scripture that encourages me to pursue earthly comfort as the means to the end.
What I can find, however, is the promise of The Comforter who promises to be with me during the trials and journey of this life.
Mostly, I am being encouraged by the Word to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
I’ll say that again….to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.
Knowing that I may never get to where my flesh desires to be from an earthly standpoint, but that I can find rest, peace and true comfort in the revelation of God and the pursuit of God’s purposes.
Through much study of God’s Word I have seen a consistent thread of truth that has gently nudged me back on course when I have lost focused of this.
And that is the work that is done under the sun is vanity ….and a grasping after the wind.
For all toil and labor for which a person is envied by their neighbor, this too is also vanity.
He/she who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; and what good is it to labor to amass wealth for which there is no guarantee or surety of lasting security.
And when you die you do not know what will happen to it.
What profit has he/she who has labored for the wind? All their days they also eat in darkness, and they have much sorrow and sickness and anger.
Essentially, “what good is it for a man to gain the whole world yet lose his/her soul?”
Instead… it is good and fitting for one to eat and drink and to enjoy the good of all their efforts in which they toil under the sun all the days of their life which God has given.
Thus, whatever your hand finds to do, do it wholeheartedly and with authenticity.
Go, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with a merry heart.
For God has already accepted your works.
Live joyfully with the people God has given to you.
For THIS is your portion in life and it is a gift from God.
So In conclusion, examine your chase. Is the pursuit you are currently chasing worth the cost?
What is it you will have to compromise for the end gain?
If you have been presented with a better opportunity examine the pros and cons….ask yourself what is my motive?
What is the hidden cost?
Will this pursuit increase my quality of life in ways that are not currently being met? Or will it drive me further from peace, contentment, and the real purpose in life.
Maybe the opportunity looks good on the surface and you feel strongly about it, so you’ve taken that path and now that you’ve dove deep in it you realize it is consuming every bit of you and driving you away from God’s will and the most important things in life….
If this is you…. my question to you today is “do you have an exit strategy?”
Or are you too fearful to let go of the “security”…or should I say perceived security and familiarity?
Know the hidden cost.
Be real with yourself and God.
Ask the Lord Jesus for His wisdom, clarity, discernment and guidance.
Step out on faith today that God will bring you peace and simply fill your life with the promises of Matthew 6.