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? Maybe so, but 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 we woke up this morning with breath in our lungs, it’s because we 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 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 of God.
We believe Jesus is coming back soon, and, 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 our 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 have been “gifted” to do certain things. May we operate in those gifts! Others are “called” and equipped to serve in specific areas. May we be faithful to that calling! And 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. This is kingdom work that involves everyone—not just a selected few.
May we be willing and obedient to be the hands and feet of Jesus! 1 John 3:16-18 expresses this