At Second Glance

At Second Glance

Luke 9:61-62 (MSG)

Then another said, “I’m ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home.” Jesus said, “No procrastination. No backward looks. You can’t put God’s kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day.”

 

I knew better but I did it anyway. I already had decided the best thing for me to do was keep moving in a new direction but I got caught up again. I took a second glance. God is moving me forward. The doors of opportunity wide open with the Holy Spirit ushering me in. But nope human pride turned my head for just one minute and I was hit with a resounding slap. No, not physically but pride certainly comes before the fall. I am a firm believer. Reminded yet again that all I am is found in Christ alone. I am ready for this new adventure. I know it has been sent by the Lord to bless me in more ways than my bank account. So why did I look back if even for a moment? Why did I take a second glance?

God has placed eternity in the heart of all mankind. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) It is the very thing that makes our time and energy so valuable to us. Time is the only commodity that we cannot reproduce or replicate. Once this moment is gone, it is gone forever. Each tick of the clock is precious time that can never be reclaimed. It produces more regret than any other action to waste a moment of it. Too often we do not know how valuable it is until we have squandered it. Last night, I sat at an almost empty table that once overflowed with children. My youngest daughter and I sharing a meal. Daddy was working late in the yard and her sister was at a friend’s house. Our other three children have grown and gone. I sensed the passage of time so acutely in that moment enjoying our conversation and time together. I know now after raising three children and letting them go that this is the most important way to spend my time right now. Soon she will grow up and leave our nest empty, I want no regrets.

“No procrastination, no backward looks.” I cannot put off God’s Kingdom any more. I must seize today. Thank you Jesus for this reminder. I needed it today. As I have shared, I am in the midst of a job transition. Perhaps, even more than that, a life transition. I am leaving the long time security of my previous employer to embark on a new journey that I know is the Lord’s Leading. I know His Voice. When He talks, I really try to listen and obey. It was easy at first saying, “Yes!” But saying, “Goodbye!” has proven to be more difficult. Yesterday was an especially tough day as while holding the door open for my departure, they gave my co-worker an offer of pay increase, position change and additional employee assistance to stay. This person is one of my very best friends so I know that she is worth it but my pride rose up the moment that I heard. They accepted my resignation and were firm that there was nothing they could do despite my “value” to the organization, yet the first day I am gone resources suddenly arise that would have kept me from leaving. It hurt my pride. Pride that I shouldn’t have allowed to rise up and take root in me. It did. I fell flat on my face just like the Word of God warns. I looked back. I took a second glance.

Genesis 19:21-26 (MSG)

“All right, Lot. If you insist. I’ll let you have your way. And I won’t stamp out the town you’ve spotted. But hurry up. Run for it! I can’t do anything until you get there.” That’s why the town was called Zoar, that is, Smalltown. The sun was high in the sky when Lot arrived at Zoar. Then God rained brimstone and fire down on Sodom and Gomorrah—a river of lava from God out of the sky!—and destroyed these cities and the entire plain and everyone who lived in the cities and everything that grew from the ground. But Lot’s wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt.

Deep breath. (Sigh) Smalltown is the place where Lot settled. So close to his past that his wife could look back and see the place they came from and it would lead to her destruction. God, I hear you! When the angels were trying to get Lot and his family to safety because Sodom and Gomorrah were about to be destroyed by God – they drug their feet. (15-17) So the angels picked them up and carried them just outside the city and told them to run for their lives, not to stop in the plains but head for the hills. But Lot protested that he couldn’t run to the mountains, because something might happen to them there. (18-20) He compromised. His wife looked back longing for her old life and it ended her new one.

God is constantly pouring His Unfailing Love on us and promoting His Favor in our life for His Glory. He is moving us from glory to glory but we refuse to go. We look back. It is in fact that second glance that gets us every time including me. I looked back. I want recompense for the time that I have given them not just in the office but worrying and thinking about my job outside of work. Those times that I have said to my children, “Not right now, let mom finish this…” I wanted validation for my years of service. To be affirmed and approved even wanted by those people from my past. It was pride. It was fear. It was doubt. These are all contrary to trusting God and not characteristic of the life I have found in Him. I must fix my eyes back on the Lord. He is where my help comes from. The Lord is my future no matter where life takes me or the job that I am doing.

I Corinthians 15:58 (MSG)

With all this going for us, my dear, dear friends, stand your ground. And don’t hold back. Throw yourselves into the work of the Master, confident that nothing you do for him is a waste of time or effort.

 

When we commit our life to working for Jesus Christ no matter what we are doing but totally trusting that His Unfailing Love will never fail to meet our greatest expectations for satisfaction and fulfilment, we have no regrets. He will always reward us. We must become confident that nothing we do for the Lord is a waste even our job that gives us a paycheck. We must do that enthusiastically as though we are working directly for God. By doing so, we receive more in the way of prosperity and blessings than any entity will ever pay us in cold, hard cash. It’s how I live my life, treat other people, and approach each task in my life not for fame or fortune but to the Glory of my God. Will people remember our time together as a blessing? Will they want to know what makes such a difference? This is a learned behavior. Trust is not a natural response to an unseen companion. We must learn to depend on the Lord in every opportunity and not those that seem only possible by faith but even in the smallest thing that we can do.

Proverbs 8:12-19 (MSG)

“I am Lady Wisdom, and I live next to Sanity; Knowledge and Discretion live just down the street. The Fear-of-God means hating Evil, whose ways I hate with a passion—pride and arrogance and crooked talk. Good counsel and common sense are my characteristics; I am both Insight and the Virtue to live it out. With my help, leaders rule, and lawmakers legislate fairly; with my help, governors govern, along with all in legitimate authority. I love those who love me; those who look for me find me. Wealth and Glory accompany me—also substantial Honor and a Good Name. My benefits are worth more than a big salary, even a very big salary; the returns on me exceed any imaginable bonus. You can find me on Righteous Road—that’s where I walk—at the intersection of Justice Avenue, handing out life to those who love me, filling their arms with life—armloads of life!”

 

Wisdom comes with experience. It is taking what we know and applying it to our life. We will only know what we take the time to discover in our walk with the Lord. If we do not spend time seeking His Take on life – we will continually look back until we go back. It is simple human nature to regress to the comfort zone rather than run for the unknown. But hope is the unknown and to have its reward requires faith. I know it is hard believe me. It was much easier to trust the Lord when there is no other option but when we do have a choice and we choose to seek Him first that’s wisdom that leads to armloads of life.

I cannot fully explain the Favor of God. It has met every need our family has had since we took our first steps in faith. Countless times it has given us more than we have even thought to ask for. It has produced things in our life that we have never shared with another – no one could have known that it was a dream or vision in us but it happened. When we need it most, it is always there. Wisdom is essential. It indeed lives next to sanity. It is the very thing we need when we leave sanity behind. Faith in God may seem insane to those who don’t know Him like I know Him. I have seen miracles, signs and wonders occur in this life that were truly supernatural. This is all a result of the Favor of God for His Children. I can use my time, however I choose – Jesus gave me that right when He died for my sins. My life is my own again. I choose to follow Christ so no more second glances. I am moving on.

Romans 11:33-36 (MSG)

Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out. Is there anyone around who can explain God? Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do? Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice? Everything comes from him; Everything happens through him; Everything ends up in him. Always glory! Always praise! Yes. Yes. Yes.

As I begin this new day, it is with a new perspective. Well, maybe not so new as revisited. Everything in my life happens for a reason. Everything comes from the Lord as I belong to Him. Everything happens through Him as He makes good come of all the details in my life (Romans 8:28) and perfects all that concerns me. (Psalm 138:8) It doesn’t matter if people celebrate me as long as I celebrate Christ by the way I have treated each of them. It doesn’t matter how much money I make because the Lord is my provider. It really makes no difference where I work or what I do as long as I work enthusiastically as though working for Jesus. It is in such a place that I am surrounded by His Favor. Things don’t seem so bad at second glance!

Proverbs 29:23 (MSG) Pride lands you flat on your face; humility prepares you for honors.

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