Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Go to the Gold Mine, not the Beach.

"The World has yet to see what God can do with a man wholly devoted to Him." DL Moody is credited with this statement, but apparently it was a charge to him by an evangelist friend in a conversation before he came back to America. Moody said "the planks on the ship and bricks on the sidewalk all seem to have this written on them, I could not get away from it".

What does it mean to be wholly devoted to Him? I actually have been thinking about this question for quite some time now. My mind always goes to the mission field, as there is a long heritage of missionaries in our family. But what does God want to see in someone wholly devoted to Him? Does that always mean being a missionary?

God wants us to delight wholly in Him, right? We are to be saturated in the Person of Jesus Christ. Our earthly location and vocation doesn't have much to do with whether we are wholly devoted to Him or not.

If we are to seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, if we are to search for the pearl of great price and in finding it sell all we have to purchase it, if we are to search for the great treasure and when we find it go and sell everything we have to purchase the field that we might gain the treasure, and if we are to love the Lord our God with all our heart soul mind and strength, how can location or vocation have any bearing on whether we are "wholly devoted to Him"?

So what does "wholly devoted to Him" look like in America today for you and me? Is it too late for us "old people" to be this person? Well, it is too late for me to be this man for my entire life, but not for the balance. God has been gracious to keep me here this long in order that He might give me the desire to ask this question. He had no requirement to draw me to Himself, but He did; what Grace.

For the youth, this can look very different vocationally, as they are starting to build their lives on a foundation. What materials are they using to build with? If we use wood, hay and stubble to build our lives, then when our lives are tested for their eternal worth much will be burned up. Contrast that with building our lives with imperishable material that when we are tested we come out as refined gold, not ashes.

If you are young, seek to do only the things that will please God every minute of everyday of your life. Seek to build a life with materials that are Kingdom focused, not earthly focused. When you are choosing your future career path, which many of my small group guys and my own children are currently doing, choose something that will give you the maximum opportunity to effect the Kingdom. If you want to find gold, go to the gold mine, not to the beach.

But what about my life? I don't want it to be too late for me to be wholly devoted to Him. God ordains EVERY situation in our lives, including when we are saved and when we finally realize what life and eternity are all about. He has allowed me/us to live the way that we have wanted, much like Solomon did. I am not saying I am similar to Solomon by any stretch of the imagination. At the end of Solomon's life he looked back and saw all that he had done and concluded that it was all vanity, save one thing; "Fear God and keep His commandments". The wisest wholly human who ever lived tells us this.

What does Jesus tell us to do? The first and greatest commandment is "Love the Lord your God with all your hear soul, mind and strength, the 2nd is love your neighbor as yourself". If we have done these completely, which none have, then Jesus' instruction to the rich young ruler in Matt. 19 was to "go and sell all that you have and give it to the poor, then you will have treasures in heaven". Did Jesus really want his money or his things? No, He only wanted to know who, or what, was on the throne of this man's heart.

He is asking the same questions of me and you. Do you love anything more than me? If I say "no" then He may ask me to prove it. Am I willing to give up everything to follow Christ? He doesn't say that I am going to be required to leave everything behind, but I have to be willing. He may require proof of solidarity, or proof of a singular focus.

Wholly devoted: entirely; totally; altogether - zealous or ardent in attachment, loyalty, or affection. Are my entire affections consumed with God? Are my affections ardent or zealous for Him, or are they sort of take it or leave it? If my affections are not HOT for Him, then what are they hot for? We can have hot affections for things like work, kids, money, houses, cars and even sleep. God requires that in our following Him our affections be hot for Him.

I want to be this man, though I have a later start than I would like, I still have a starting point. What about you? Are you ready to start, or are you still trying to get some things accomplished so you will be "ready" to wholly follow Christ? It is time we put down the wood and straw and went over to where the gold is. Forget the rest, it is only vanity and a chasing after the wind. Go where Christ is leading you and just keep your eyes on Him.

Lord, You have called me, You have saved me, You have redeemed me with Your very life and I desire to live in such a way that pleases You. Tear down the idols that keep me from following right behind You. Allow me to see just a glimpse of the joy that comes from following hard after You, so I might understand how glorious it can be when I build with materials that won't burn. All of this is Your work in me and I want to be wholly available and devoted to Your work. I don't desire this so that others may look at me, but so that You might say to me on the last day, "well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of My rest". God, help me be a man wholly devoted to You, right where I am today. Don't let me waste one more moment waiting for the time to be right. Show me what it looks like right where You have me and then give me the desire to live it out.

1 comment:

skh said...

Good morning, Chuck. I'm glad you were able to track down the quote, and I'm further encouraged by what you did with it! I am also thankful to God for your bright example of pursuing a wholly-devoted-to-Him life.