It all began with a simple question. Steve was about to graduate from our program when I asked him, “So, what are you going to do with your life now?”
“I’m going to college,” Steve replied.
“Why?” I asked.
“Why do you want to do that?”
“I want to get a degree in marketing.”
“Why do you want a degree in marketing?”
“So I can get a decent job.”
I continued, “Why do you want a decent job?”
“So I can make money.”
Steve was getting a bit agitated by my questioning, but I persisted. “Why do you want to make money, Steve?”
“So I can buy the things I need—a house, a car, food—you know, the stuff you need to live.”
“Steve,” I asked, “Why do you want to live?”
At that, Steve’s face fell. He could hear in his own answers the shallowness and meaninglessness of his plans. He had missed the point.
A life lived for self is a tragedy. Money, pleasure, comfort, and retirement are not life-worthy goals. What matters is joining with God in bringing those outside his family into his everlasting love. Jesus said, “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it” (Mk. 8:35).
When Jesus called his first disciples, he called them to a different kind of life with a new set of values: “Come, follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Mk. 1:17). The who they were and the what they did would all change. Christ’s mission (the seeking and saving of the lost, Lk. 19:10) would become their mission.
Following Christ leads to fishing. Always.
And this is where our joy is made full. There is nothing more rewarding than being used by God to bring about his reconciliation to a world separated by sin from him.
You will never realize your destiny or fulfill God’s purposes in your life if Christ’s focus does not become the driving force of your life. “He that wins souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30). Every other pursuit is foolish.
Don’t waste your life. Use your energy and resources to further his kingdom. Leverage your opportunities to reach others with the gospel. Time is short. People matter. Heaven and hell are real.
“Most men are not satisfied with the permanent output of their lives. Nothing can wholly satisfy the life of Christ within his followers except the adoption of Christ’s purpose toward the world he came to redeem. Fame, pleasure and riches are but husks and ashes in contrast with the boundless and abiding joy of working with God for the fulfillment of his eternal plans. The men who are putting everything into Christ’s undertaking are getting out of life its sweetest and most priceless rewards.” [J. Campbell White (1909), Secretary of the Laymen’s Missionary Movement]