I’ll admit it. Between the ages of 15 and 30 I put off a lot of things. Somehow I thought, “I have a long time to accomplish that.” and that line of thinking brought on a certain passiveness that today I regret. Now, here I am, almost halfway through my life with such an urgency to do something great for God that it’s almost paralyzing. My greatest fear? That I’ll reach the end of my life having made little to no impact on the world around me; that somehow I will have missed it and I’ll be full of woulda shoulda couldas.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the 15+ years I’ve been in ministry. It’s just that somehow I believe that there’s something… more. More than Western church work. More than preaching, more than music, more than programs. I mean, if that was what we’re supposed to do, then why are so many going to hell? Why are there starving? Why are people still being sold as slaves? Why do 80% of young people leave the church? Why is the divorce rate just as high in the church as it is outside? Why are 1,500 pastors leaving the ministry every month?
I really do love the local church. I don’t know where I’d be without it. It’s through the local church that I found an awesome relationship with Jesus. That’s where I learned how to pray, found community, and received blessing after blessing from the Father. My question is, “What aren’t we doing?”
Notice, I didn’t ask, “What isn’t the church doing?” After all, WE are the local church. Remember when that missionary came and said he needed help in South Africa? Remember when the Holy Spirit pulled on your heart to go and you didn’t? Do you recall the many times you felt a tug to give to help those in need? You made a mental note to write a check when you got home, but the check was never written. How about that calling to work with the teenagers at your church, but life got in the way and you never got any further than just mentioning it to the youth pastor? I know I’ve been there. My whole family would have been to Africa, I would have had a book written, and thousands of my hard earned dollars would be poured into hundreds of projects by now if I would have just done what I’d meant to do. It’s too bad we don’t get points for good intentions.
Here are a few things we can all do to shorten our list of things we didn’t do:
Start writing down the things you felt you were supposed to do, then start doing them. Sounds overly simplistic, I know, but sometimes the mere act of writing a thing down gets it out of the realm of whims and into a greater sense of reality. Why not? We write down goals like the car we want to buy and the vacation we want to take. Why not write down the things we want to do for God? We’re always looking for God to tell us what to do. Maybe He’s been quiet because we haven’t done the last 20 things he told us to.
Tell somebody. Have someone in your life who will hold you accountable to your dreams. It’s too easy to blow things off when the emotion dies down and it’s all just a big idea rolling around in your head.
Take a small step. Put a couple dollars in an envelope marked “Missions Trip”, commit to serving at only one youth event, or pray five minutes a week for your pastor. Remember, a very small thing is better than no thing and you’ll be surprised at how several baby steps can add up quickly.
So how about you? What are some things you felt called to do but didn’t? What are the things you haven’t done? You can post some things here and have a bunch of people praying for you. Let a life of no regrets be your goal!
* My apologies to all those who commented on this post. I lost it during maintenance and had to repost it. Feel free to comment again!