Sometimes we think that the meaning of life is found in accomplishments and recognition, but in the end we realize that this way of life is meaningless too!
Have you ever noticed how often it is that the private lives of famous people are a mess? And yet somehow the world still manages to convince us that it would be great to be famous, to be widely recognized and rewarded for our accomplishments. Some people have a list of things they want to accomplish in life; they are certain that these accomplishments will make them feel fulfilled. But when they accomplish all their goals and still feel empty, they become disillusioned with life.
Like Solomon, they discover that this way of life is not full of meaning. Accomplishments only become meaningful when God is at the center of them.
God has made faith the only way to live! No alternative is offered. 'Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him' (Hebrews 11:6 NIV).
Let's take a moment and consider some questions arising from this life-transforming truth:
(A) Who are 'the just'? Paul writes, 'Know that a person is not justified by observing the law, but by faith in Jesus Christ. So we, too, have put our faith in Christ Jesus that we may be justified by faith...' (Galatians 2:16 NIV). Justification (just-as-if-I'd-never-sinned) can't be earned, it's a free gift that comes by faith. If you have placed your trust in Christ then you are fully accepted in God's eyes. How good is that?
(B) What is 'walking'? Paul says, 'We walk by faith and not by sight.' Walking requires that you get up and start moving. You can't just sit around aimlessly, waiting for the rapture. Walking involves: Motivation - you're moved by a purpose. Direction - you've chosen a destination, a goal to reach. Motion - you're committed to mobilizing your energy and resources in the pursuit of your God-given destination and purpose. To walk by faith you must be engaged in consistent, forward movement intended to bring you into God's destiny for your life.
God often takes each leader through four major tests
(C) When God anoints a person, a pattern of testing appears to take place at specific times in the leader's life. God often takes each leader through four major tests to determine if that person will achieve God's ultimate call on his or her life. The person's response to these tests is the deciding factor in whether they can advance to the next level of responsibility in God's Kingdom.
(D) Control - Control is one of the first tests. Saul spent most of his time as king trying to prevent others from getting what he had. Saul never got to the place with God in which he was a grateful recipient of God's goodness to him. Saul was a religious controller. This control led to disobedience and ultimately being rejected by God because Saul no longer was a vessel God could use.
(E) Bitterness - Every major character in the Bible was hurt by another person at one time or another. Jesus was hurt deeply when Judas, a trusted follower, betrayed Him. Despite knowing this was going to happen, Jesus responded by washing Judas' feet. Every anointed leader will have a Judas experience at one time or another. God watches us to see how we will respond to this test. Will we take up an offense? Will we retaliate? It is one of the most difficult tests to pass.
(F) Power - Power is the opposite of servant-hood. Jesus had all authority in Heaven and earth, so Satan tempted Jesus at the top of the mountain to use His power to remove Himself from a difficult circumstance. How will we use the power and influence God has entrusted to us? Do we seek to gain more power? There is a common phrase in the investment community, "He who has the gold rules." Jesus modeled the opposite. He was the ultimate servant leader.
(G) Greed - This is a difficult one. Money has the ability to have great influence for either good or bad. When it is a focus in our life, it becomes a tool of destruction. When it is a by-product, it can become a great blessing. Many leaders started out well - only to be derailed once prosperity became a part of their life. There are thousands who can blossom spiritually in adversity; only a few can thrive spiritually under prosperity.
As leaders, we must be aware when we are being tested. You can be confident that each one of these tests will be thrown your way if God calls you for His purposes. Will you pass these tests? Ask for God's grace today to walk through these tests victoriously.
God chooses and through the Holy Spirit anoints them.
(H) While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.
God Entrusts the Kingdom Work
(I) Do you know one thing I love about ministry? It's that when it comes to Kingdom work, every person has a job to do. Even Paul and Barnabas, two of the greatest missionaries to ever live, had John with them to assist them in their ministry.
Now you probably know this John by a different name: John Mark, who wrote the Gospel of Mark!
Isn't that amazing? God used this young servant to Paul and Barnabas—who was probably used to carrying around their heavy scrolls and transcribing letters as they dictated—to give the world what is widely regarded as the earliest Gospel account!
You see, servants like John Mark are so important to the work of the Kingdom. And God will use ordinary servants like him to do extraordinary things!
Let me tell you something. On the day when rewards are given out in heaven, there will be countless men and women who ministered behind the scenes who are going to be standing at the head of the line while many of the ‘up-front' people will be waiting on them!
So whether you are more of an up-front person when it comes to ministry or you like working behind the scenes, don't underestimate the impact that you can have by being a humble Kingdom servant.