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Cancelling Comfort

While driving to church one Sunday morning, my eight-year-old son unexpectedly piped in and exclaimed, “When I grow up, I want to be rich and live in a mansion and drive a sports car!” Instantly, I remembered a time when I had similar desires. The plan was to get married after college, become a teacher, and have a big family. We would work hard, build our dream home, be debt free, and save enough money to retire while still in our forties. This magic formula would allow us plenty of time to travel and enjoy a life of leisure! That was my dream! As a newlywed, and a new teacher, I remember thinking that if we did this right, we’d only have to work hard for about twenty years then we could enjoy retirement, which surely included golfing, traveling, and relaxing by the pool!


Nearly twenty years later, here we are entering our forties. Although we may be closer to retirement age, over this past decade, God has shown us we were not made for comfort or a life of leisure. Often, we can fall into the mindset that our “work” is merely a means to pay the bills, which deceives us into thinking that as soon as we reach financial security, we can quit working. However, we weren’t created to sit on the sidelines. We weren’t created to watch others do kingdom work while we sit by the pool sipping our lemonade. We weren’t created to just play. We weren’t created to build wealth enabling us to indulge in what makes us comfortable. We weren’t created to simply enjoy a life of leisure. Don’t get me wrong…by no means am I saying a time of rest and play are bad. In fact, it’s important we make time for both! Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” There is a time for rest, a time for play, a time to work and a time for leisure. We just can’t get stuck living for a life of leisure! We were made for more. The definition of leisure is “freedom from the demands of work or duty, when one can rest, enjoy hobbies or sports, unhurried ease.” Sounds lovely, right? Wrong! As a believer, there is always work to be done, regardless of our age, career standing, or financial status!


We were created on purpose for a purpose. Ephesians 2:10 declares, “For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” The Lord recorded all of our days in His book before we were born. He purposefully prepared the good “works” for us in advance. Psalms 139:16 echoes this, “Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.” Marinate on that for a moment. That means if you woke up this morning with breath in your lungs, it’s because you have a purpose…you have an assignment!


Maybe it’s the teacher in me or the fact that I’m a visual learner, but I love how God uses analogies in the Bible to bring better understanding to us as we read His Word. Multiple times, God’s Word compares our life to a race. I’m definitely not a runner, but I have watched numerous races and I’ve discovered that life is more like a marathon than a sprint. In long distance races, the runner has to find a pace they can maintain throughout the race, but when they approach the finish line, no matter how exhausted they feel, they always accelerate. Always!


Hebrews 12:1 says, “Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.” Philippians 3:13-14 challenges us to, “press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” As believers, that is the race we are running! Previously, I was running a race and working hard to produce a lucrative and leisurely retirement life. My husband and I still work hard and save for retirement, but that’s not our main focus anymore. The Lord has impressed us to set aside some of our material dreams and goals for a season. Our goals have shifted! We are compelled to accelerate and do more….not for us, but for the Kingdom!


We believe Jesus is coming back soon! Whether we depart in the rapture or through physical death, we want to finish our races strong! There is much work to be done, but Matthew 9:37 tells us that “the laborers are few.” This is not the time to sit around and just live out your days. You have a purpose. You have an assignment, and I implore you to seek the Lord and prayerfully consider what He has for you to do!


Many of you have been “gifted” to do certain things. Operate in your gifts! Others are “called” and equipped to serve in specific areas! Be faithful to your calling. But as believers, all of us have been “commissioned” to spread the gospel, make disciples, take care of the orphans and widows, and help the poor and needy. That is kingdom work that involves everyone….not just a selected few. Be willing and obedient to be the hands and feet of Jesus! 1 John 3:16-18 expresses this beautifully, “And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” We can’t just feel empathy for the poor, homeless, fatherless, orphans, and widows. We have to take action. James 1:27 clearly states, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We should all carve out time and resources to care for the needs of people even when it’s not comfortable or even convenient. God ordained this assignment for all believers. He wants us to be eternally minded and to lead people to Jesus!


Kingdom work doesn’t finish when you retire, nor should it be put on hold until you do retire! If our schedules, in whatever season of life we find ourselves in, are so busy that we don’t have time to serve or take up causes that are close to our Father’s heart, we are too busy. Let me say that again for my own ears…if we are too busy carting our kiddos around from one activity to the next, working as many hours in a day that we can, or filling all of our free time with things that make us happy and fulfilled, then we need to adjust our schedules. We need to stop and invite Jesus into our days. Let’s ask Him how He wants us to use our time. We need rest and the Lord delights in blessing His children, but we can’t let the temporal pleasures of this world become the goal. This life is but a vapor when compared to eternity. Because He died and rose again, our sins can be forgiven and we can live with Jesus forever. But there is also a day when all of us will give an account for every idle word and action…they will pass through the fire and we will be rewarded accordingly. It doesn’t discount our salvation, but it does impact our rewards. Everything not done with pure motives, is going to be burned up. Our lives will be an open book. The Lord isn’t going to be interested in how many hours you worked or how many deals you closed. He won’t care about how many championships your child won or how much time you spent working on drills in your backyard. He only cares about things that have eternal value and He wants our focus to be on things that have eternal value….people!


What areas in your life are hindering you from focusing on things that have eternal value? Are you sowing seed into areas that have eternal value? Are you shepherding your children’s heart towards God? Are you spending time in the Word? There’s no need for condemnation….just make an adjustment and become eternally-minded today! We are close to the finish line, and my greatest desire is to finish my race strong and live my days laboring for the Lord! We were made for more than comfort. We have been created with a purpose. Finish strong my friend, so that we can hear those words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Soon, and very soon, we are going to see the Lord!


You can read more of Mary’s writings on her blog at https://nathanandmary.blogspot.com/