A Quick Thought From My Week

Last week I completed my final full load at seminary. I walked out excited and relieved, but nearly completely drained, both physically and emotionally. So, I took this week off. No studying, very little work. I called it the “week of Justin” (I’m a Seinfeld fan, and since I couldn’t have a “summer of George,” a week would have to do).

I played golf four times. That’s right, four. My scores steadily went down (but let’s be honest, there was no where else for them to go) and my tan got darker. In times of stress and busyness I’ve often thought that life would be great if I could just play golf all the time. Being outdoors in beautiful weather while playing a competitive game with great friends is about as good as it gets.

But you know what? After four rounds of golf in a week, I was done with it. Leisure and recreation are gifts from God, they are to be enjoyed, but they’re not to be indulged in. When our lives are built around recreation, we are no longer living a life of significance.

I’ve often told the students I’ve worked with that one of my greatest fears in life is that I’ll die and no one will care. That I’ll live my life and have a good time, but at the end of it all what I did meant little if anything.

Jeremiah 29:10-11 records these words, God’s words to Israel as they are living in exile: “For thus says the Lord: When seventy years are completed for Babylon, I will visit you, and I will fulfill to you my promise and bring you back to this place. For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”

This verse is often used as a comfort to people in hard times or suffering, and that is a wonderful application of the verse. But God isn’t just promising us that he’s in control and has a plan and a purpose for our lives and for our welfare, although that is part of it. To understand more fully the promise that God is describing we need to return to the beginning of the nation of Israel in Genesis 12:2-3. There God tells Abraham this:

And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and him who dishonors you I will curse, and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

So God’s plan is not just for his people’s favor and blessing. His purpose is for the nations, the people around us, to be blessed by us because of God. God doesn’t just have a vacation in mind for us, with golf, poker, and massages. He has a life of significance in store.

That’s why I was tired of playing golf this week, that’s why I was tired of taking the week off. Because God has made each of us with a desire and a purpose to bless the world. Our careers, our relationships, all of it is meant to be significant. But a life of significance isn’t easy, it takes hard work, discipline, and determination.

May we all persevere in doing the hard work that is required in living a life God deems significant.

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