I’m a dreamer. That’s a good thing for the most part. I think. The downside is that I’m hardly ever content—always dreaming of the next thing. A friend recently told me, I’m sure he heard it from someone else, “Wherever you are, be there all the way.” This, one hundred percent, describes who I am not.
I’ve moved half a dozen times in the last couple of years. While some of it wasn’t my fault, or so I like to think, I could have prevented the moves more than I did. When I lived in Michigan and worked at a church, which I loved, in the back of my head I always thought, I’ll work here or a couple of years then I’ll see what else comes up. It seems like a harmless statement. But I realized, all too late, that it meant I never gave it my complete devotion. Even now, in my current role as a teacher, I wonder what’s next.
What’s so bad about that right?
Let me put it in perspective. I dated a girl in college for a year. We were serious. At least I was. But one night, as we walked around her neighborhood, taking in the velvet sky and chorus of nighttime critters, she said, “I’ve always seen myself being alone for a while, before I got married.” What? She always had that in the back of her mind. While I fell in love, she wondered about her time alone before marriage. Hint: You tell a guy that before things get serious, aka, before you start dating. It was unfair to me. I withheld nothing back in our relationship, while she never was quite that into it.
It wasn’t fair to the churches I worked at, for me to wonder what was next, to wonder what the next “step” in the ladder was. It isn’t fair for me to wonder what’s next after my current role. Why do I even plan what’s next, as if resigned to my inevitable departure? Why would a boss hire someone knowing that was in the back of their minds? Who wants to be a stepping stone or the next season of many?
Am I saying it’s not wise to look ahead? Not exactly.
Paul did it all the time. I repeat, all the time.
The apostle Paul said, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4: 12 NIV).”
Paul was content in whatever role he found himself in. Evangelist. Servant. Mentor. Prisoner. Martyr. Knowing this, it can get confusing why he also said, “I am torn between the two: I desire to depart and be with Christ, which is better by far; but it is more necessary for you that I remain in the body. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain, and I will continue with all of you for your progress and joy in the faith, so that through my being with you again your joy in Christ Jesus will overflow on account of me.” Sounds like he’s not content right?
Paul wanted to die and be with Jesus. He didn’t want to be with anyone else! He wanted his Lord and Savior! Now here’s the mind boggling part. Because he knew that heaven was his final resting place, his knowledge and certainty of that, gave him the secret of being content.
I often blow the potential of my roles, because I forget that I play a role . . . in the eternal scheme of things. I am where God has placed me! Sometimes I don’t like it. Sometimes I crave and dream of something more. Something else to satisfy. But when I remember, that I long to be with Christ, and will be with Christ, nothing else matters.
Let me show you what this really looks like.
A few years ago, I dated a girl that lived in Ohio, while I lived in Kansas City. We lived thirteen hours apart. I drove it at least three times. It was uncomfortable. It was boring. I could have pursued other things. But there was a prevailing reality that rang and rang in my mind. I’m going to see her soon. Yeah baby! I hate this drive . . . and I love this drive. Because if this is what I need to do, until I reach my final destination, bring it on! It doesn’t matter what it is!
So yeah, it’s normal to be wish for something more. It’s also normal to forget our final destination. But when we envision that moment before Jesus, everything comes to perspective. This role doesn’t really matter. This high paying job doesn’t matter. This low paying job doesn’t matter. A title everyone else looks up to doesn’t matter. What matters, is that while we’re here, in the role God has placed, we need to make the most out of it. This will sound crazy. But the secret is boiled down to this: Look ahead to the glories of Heaven to find contentment in all that you do on Earth.
It took me a while to wrap myself around this idea. But it was so worth it. I pray you can wrestle with this truth just the same.
Here are quick summary points.
1. We belong to God. God has a reason for every role He has casted us in.
2. The hope for Heaven is the only thing that will make us content in every circumstance on Earth.
3. Soon enough we will see the face of our Lover—Jesus; the time it takes to get there is nothing compared to that first moment in Heaven.
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