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« Old Cures for New Diseases | Main | The Acts of God »

What Should I Do With My Life?

decisions.jpgActs 22:10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus ; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

The title of Po Bronson’s book, “What Should I Do With My Life?” stood out to me. I bought it. I don’t recommend it to anyone, because it is a secular answer to spiritual questions. It advocates a person to look within themselves rather than listening to God. But the question is legitimate. Bronson calls it “the ultimate question.”

Saul of Tarsus faced the biggest decision of his life. This question does not refer to what tie he should wear, or whether he should invest in the stock market, or what to eat for supper. It was not what he should preach at BOTT, or whether or not he should let his name run for District Superintendent.

This was about the direction of his entire life. Everything in earth and heaven for Saul depended on the answer to this question.

There are stages in our lives when we must make life-changing decisions, decisions that will determine what we will be. All the important elements come together at the critical time and place.

Some don’t think they can do anything with their lives.
Some think their choices have already been made for them.
Some fear failure, others fear success.
Some waste their true potential because of discouragement or despair.

You Determine Who You Are and What You Will Be

That sounds like it is straight out of a Zig Ziglar or a John Maxwell book.
But I’m not talking about PMA or psych-hype.
I am talking about the solemn responsibility of choice.
I am talking about the sum total of your life.

You have the power and prerogative to answer the eternal question about the way you live your life. That’s what free will is all about. It doesn’t matter who your parents are, or what your skin color is, or how much money you have, or what your level education may be. What does matter is that you are a creation of God, and that God has a purpose for your life.

You have to do something with the life and ministry that God has given to you…and you will either enjoy the rewards or suffer the consequences for the choice you make…and you will be held accountable to God for your decision.

But, before you answer this question, you might need to fast-forward to a future question: What did I do with my life?

I wonder if he had a keepsake drawer somewhere in his fine Thessalonican house? Maybe, while rummaging in it for something, he came across a scrap of parchment…a used quill…an old garment or sash. I believe he did. I believe, in the privacy of his own bedroom and thoughts, he broke down. I believe he pounded his fist into his pillow, and raged against his foolish choice. Whatever he finally decided to be, it never measured up to what he could have been.

2 Timothy 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica;

Judas had every advantage of every other disciple, maybe more. He had a business mind, favorable circumstances, the right set of friends, a golden opportunity to change the world. What happened?

Was it ambition? Greed? Disillusionment? Impatience? Did he just misread the whole situation? Who knows?

The point is that Judas had critical moments when he made wrong choices. He botched the “What am I going to do with my life?” question over and over.

Acts 1:16-19 Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. 17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. 18 Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it was known unto all the dwellers at Jerusalem ; insomuch as that field is called in their proper tongue, Aceldama , that is to say, The field of blood.

When you don’t buy into God’s will for your life, you buy a field of blood!

I believe guilt of betrayal overwhelmed Judas.
I believe the guilt of innocent blood drove him to the rope and the tree.
But, I wonder if there was also this agonizing, punishing thought…”What did I do with my life?”

We have our modern Demos’s and Judas’s.

I hesitate to tell you about their painful stories, but these are sobering issues.

  • Some examine their stock portfolios, but look longingly at church buildings as they drive by them.
  • Some sit in their corporate board meetings, or survey their travel itineraries, and stifle inward groans that they walked away from the best for less…they discarded the eternal for the temporal…they put their gold before their God.
  • Some look at their once-beautiful second wife…that flirt for whom they forsook their marriage and ministry…and see the embodied reason why they lost everything.
  • Some turn over the keys to their office, and front door to the church, and collapse in sobs. They were forced to resign in disgrace, because of what they did with their life.
  • Some wail night after night, asking God for only one small thing…”Just let me preach one more time!”
  • Some continuously rummage around in the keepsake drawers, looking at their license or ordination papers, wishing they had the moments back when they threw it all away.
  • Some join up with ragtag groups, trying to content themselves with lesser choices.

The answer to “What did I do?” begins with “What will I do?”

What happens to many people when faced with a life-changing decision?

  • Put it off.
  • Wait for more details.
  • Jump too soon.
  • Talk themselves out of it.
  • Busy themselves with lesser choices.

I submit to you today, that the greatest decision you will ever make will not be your college, your plan to move, your kind of automobile, your HMO or what set of clubs you will buy.

Your greatest decision is the one that will define you in the eyes of eternity.
Saul of Tarsus now asked the question, “What shall I do?” What brought him to this point?

Saul of Tarsus now had an experience with God.

Acts 9:1-6 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem . 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus : and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Do you think God made a mistake when he called you?
Have you been arguing with God about your ministry?

God gives supernatural experiences with a mandate attached!

Saul of Tarsus now had a clear choice before him.

Acts 9:10 -16 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus , named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord. 11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem : 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel : 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

You don’t have to figure God out.
God won’t allow you to say, “Well, I really didn’t know…I wasn’t sure.”

Saul of Tarsus now had a mission driving him.

Galatians 1:13-16 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God , and wasted it: 14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, 16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:

Once you have a mission, you don’t need an incentive!
Once the reason grips you, the rewards don’t matter!
Saul of
Tarsus now had a sense of who he was.

1 Corinthians 15:9-10

9 For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

You will never be more fulfilled than when you give up and let God take over.
Right choices define who you really are.

The choice that Saul of Tarsus made transformed him into Paul, the Apostle. Your choice will transform you. What you become is in your hands.

  • Maybe you have accepted the fact of your calling. It’s not over…in fact it’s only just begun.
  • Now you have to answer the question of degree of commitment.
  • How much…how far…how long…how high…how big…how many…??????
  • Is it enough for you to wear the badge? To join the fellowship? To assume the honors?
  • Will mediocrity be the measure of your ministry?
  • As a preacher, what will you do with your life?
  • As a pastor, what will you do with your life?
  • As an evangelist, what will you do with your life?

(Read the list of war casualties.)

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