A lineman in a flag football world
This week we’re continuing our consideration of how we can become rich — God’s definition of rich. Last week we talked about contentment. How we tend to desire the stuff that money can buy, and how that stuff never truly satisfies. How if want to be genuinely rich as God means and intends, we must become content. Now, it can’t just amount to being content, right?! There has to be something more, right?! (is this a self-fulfilling prophecy or what?! we’ve arrived and content and we’re asking about more :))
Contentment is necessary, and contentment is a start. But I would suggest that there is actually more to becoming rich as God means and intends. Let’s look at it this way. Let’s, just for pretend, say that I’m 300 pounds and I love football (don’t watch the video so the balloon of pretend will never be popped). And let’s also pretend that I was part of a flag football team. Now, I love football and my self-image is solidly in tact — one would say that I am content in my circumstances. But if that same person was to sit and watch a flag football game, they would clearly understand the point of this week. I can be content all I want, but playing the game of flag football with the physique of a not-so-much-two-percent-body-fat lineman will not make me rich. Flag football is a game which my “pretend self” was not designed to play. But should other linemen, such as my pretend self, unite together and rip off the flags in trade for some good old fashioned tackle football, well, now we’re talking rich!
With all kidding and pretend scenarios aside, it doesn’t make earthly sense to do something I wasn’t designed to do. And in God’s economy, this makes no sense either. I am a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10 NLT) of God’s making, and He designed me for a very specific purpose. That goes beyond the beautiful truth of my DNA and fingerprint to the things I was created to do in this life. To be rich as he means and intends me to be, I must discover and live out my true purpose.
Take this job and … no, no, no, that’s not what I mean
So here’s what we do when someone talks about or encourages us to find our true purpose. We start thinking about our jobs, our career path, the way we so often derive meaning in our life. We begin to question whether we’re supposed to be an engineer, a nurse, a cashier or a make-a-home parent. Maybe we feel God made us to be something more, or different. But your purpose as a profession is not what I’m talking about. Your purpose is much more important, and infinitely more simple than your earthly calling. What I am talking about, is how God made you to bring glory to Him. Now, maybe that doesn’t sound infinitely more simple, and you might even say, “I don’t even know what you mean! How do I bring glory to God?” I would quickly answer that glory is respect; it is recognition and it is honor. In everything you do, if you begin to respect, recognize and honor God in it, you will be bringing glory to Him. If you If you recognize, within yourself and in front of others, that God has given you the opportunity to do that thing you are doing, you are bringing glory to God. If you begin doing it as if you were doing it for Him, you bring glory to God. If after accomplishing something, within yourself and in front of others, you give Him credit for the success and the experience of doing it, you are bringing glory to God.
Okay, so I said that was infinitely simpler, but it is so often not what we do. We tend to insert ourselves as the recipient of the respect, recognition and honor. We try to succeed at what we do so the ones we love most will be proud of us, or we’ll be recognized, respected or rewarded. When this is what we seek, it becomes the “stuff” that we talked about last week. The “stuff” that money can buy, but that never satisfies.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:16-17 (NIV)
These verses speak clear truths — that everything in this created world were made by and for God and He is the One who holds it all together. And what this means for us, is that our only purpose in this created world is to bring glory to Him. It is not to create … He already did, and continues to do that. It is not to be responsible for … again, that’s for Him to do. It’s not to “hold it all together” … isn’t it really comforting and a major relief to know that it’s not our job to do that, and that He (the all-powerful God) is doing that even now?! When we get this, and we begin lining ourselves up with these truths of the created world, the deep longing within us is fed and becomes satisfied. When we choose differently, no amount of “stuff” will ever be enough.
An episode of What Not To Do
In the spirit of that fashion show which we could not possibly live without (What Not To Wear), the Bible has a perfect illustration of someone who started out choosing wrongly in bringing glory to themselves. And, how after being humbled by God, chose rightly in honoring God. Watch and read the story Grant tells this week of King Nebuchadnezzar .
If we want to be genuinely rich in this life, the only chance we have is if we cultivate contentment and bring glory to God in all that we do. Anything apart from that is chasing the wind; it is a life of ravenous consumption absent any true and lasting satisfaction. In ending this week, may this be the question which you are left with:
Am I bringing glory to myself, or glory to God?
Be content, give glory to God … be rich.