Today’s Reading: Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18
I am one of those people who like to set goals for myself, whether it is for today or for this week or for this month or for this year. I am a list person. I write out a list of all I need or want to accomplish. Because I am wired this way, as I am guessing many of you are, I already have this month pretty much planned out but I’m still working on my list of things I would like to accomplish.
I know there are several things I would like to do before this calendar year is over. But beyond my own heart’s desire, I find myself asking God this morning what He would like to do with the next few months of my life. I ask God this kind of question quite often, especially at the beginning of a new year or a new season, but sometimes even at the beginning of a new week or a new day. I give God permission to direct my ways and choose my paths. This year has already been full of blessings and there have also been some difficult times. That is what I signed up for, right? Whatever, wherever, whenever. But, as I sit in this place of commitment again, I must admit I sense the familiar hesitation.
Let me reveal a little something about myself – I have a love-hate relationship with roller coasters. I love the thrill of the ride…when it’s over. As I move closer to the front of the line, I get a little more nervous. As I listen to the current riders screaming and the loud sound of the roller coaster rushing by, my heart starts to beat just a little faster (okay, a lot faster). I know I am going to be safe and I know I am going to get off the roller coaster with a smile on my face, but the anticipation is nerve-wracking. I sit down, buckle up, and tighten my grip on the bars.
This is much truer when I ride a new roller coaster for the first time. I am unsure of what to expect. The ride is about to begin, zero to 70 mph in 3 seconds. The commitment has been made, seat belts fastened, but the upcoming ride is unknown and I find myself a little nervous…okay, scared. The next two minutes of my life are now completely out of my control.
My natural tendency is to want to be in charge, I like being in control. But my natural pattern is to really mess things up when I try to do things of my own strength or follow my own plan. I hear God asking me this morning, “Do you trust me? Can I have your plans?” Yes, of course I trust you, Lord. Please calm my fears and help me to loosen my grip as I place my family and my list in your hands. I absolutely desire to fully commit everything to you, but the upcoming ride is still unknown and I find myself asking you to help me trust you.
Imagine how nervous the disciples were when they went to the upper room in anticipation of what was next. They had just watched Jesus ascend into Heaven. They had made the commitment to follow Him and the road ahead was unknown, the anticipation great. But they did not need to ask God the question, “What would you like for me to do this year?” or “What goals would you like for me to set?” Jesus had already given them directions in His last few days with them. Now it was time to do what Jesus was asking them to do, just as it is time for us to do what God has already made clear to us.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” – Acts 1:8
Goal #1 – Be a witness of Christ Jesus wherever He places me each day, a witness in my conversation, in my actions, in my attitudes.
Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20
Goal #2 – Go and make disciples, reach out and share the gospel with those who need Jesus, then disciple them as they learn what it means to be a follower of Christ.
“Feed my lambs…Take care of my sheep…Feed my sheep…” – John 21:15-17
Goal #3 – Compassionate ministry – daily reaching out to those around me and around the world, meeting their physical needs as well as their spiritual needs.
“Peace be with you.” – John 20:19,21
Goal #4 – Don’t be afraid. Trust God with what is ahead. Rest in His care and in His plan, sit back and prepare for the ride of your life. Loosen your grip, raise your arms in the air and enjoy the ride.