We live in a self-centered world – particularly in North America, where it is all about me: my goals, my dreams and my needs. A Nigerian fellow visiting America was astonished to see so many cars with only one or two people in them. He remarked, “In my town, if you go to the store everyone in your neighborhood who needs a ride goes with you! Someone driving alone would seem very selfish indeed.” We want to know “What’s in it for me?” or “How will this help me accomplish my goals?” Even Christians have developed a consumer mentality as we shop around for the best worship teams, most exciting children’s programs, most inspirational pastor and most creative ministries before we are willing to join a church.
In reality, we were not created for what we can achieve or the goals we can reach, we were created for God. “All things were created by Him and for Him.”(Colossians 1:16) Christ is the reason for creation. We exist for Him, because of His love and His desire to be known and to be worshiped by us. We exist to accomplish His purposes. In the beginning God gave mankind various assignments and tasks to accomplish. Even when mankind chose rebellion and independence rather than God’s way, God always had a restored relationship with His people in mind. It was always God’s intention to repair the broken relationship that came from Adam and Eve’s sin. Through Noah, Abraham, Moses, Deborah, David, Isaiah, Jonah and on through John the Baptist, Mary, Peter, Paul, on up until today, God has systematically fulfilled His plan to redeem and restore mankind to their proper relationship with Him.
We may think world events, the rise and fall of civilizations, man’s inventions and discoveries, and all the details of history are not connected to God’s plans, but they are. He has been working in and through everything to achieve His purposes. Each one of us has a part in God’s story. We were chosen, equipped, and prepared to play a special role in God’s plans to redeem a lost world. Our history, our background and current circumstances fit into His-story. Scripture tells us that “His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps.” (Job 34:21) and even when we turn our face against God, the Scriptures say, “A man’s heart plans his way, but the LORD determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9) In other words, God is big enough to work in the midst of our successes, our failures, our obedience and our disobedience to continue to move us towards His Kingdom purposes (Romans 8:28). We don’t invite God into our story. He is inviting us into His. Whether you acknowledge God or not, He is still moving everything towards His end goals. As individuals and as families we can choose to be a part of that or not.
When we open our eyes to God’s activity around us, seek Him in His Word and in prayer and pay attention to the circumstances in which we find ourselves, we open our lives to the adventure of God working through us to accomplish His purposes. The same love that created us, continues to draw us and guide us into that place where we destined to be – with Him, living for Him, drawing others to Him.
This, combined with a podcast from Focus on the Family I heard recently about letting your kids learn by doing, makes me think that perhaps more important than our kids being perfect and getting it right the first time is the story that God is choosing to teach the world through them. I know I don’t get it right the first time all the time, but hopefully I’m teaching the world that there is grace for the mess-ups and that our worth is not dependent on our performance.