John Piper writes in his book "Don't Waste Your Life" about an old man who heard Piper's father preaching and, at the end of the service, came forward to commit his life to Christ. As he talked with Piper's father, he began to sob, saying, "I've wasted it! I've wasted it!"
Piper says that image really gripped him--he didn't want to come to the end of his own life and realize that he had wasted it.
An image that has had a similar impact on me is Matthew 7:21-23, where Jesus says:
Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?' Then I will tell them plainly, 'I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!'I think of how glibly Christians talk to and about the Lord. We treat God like a friendly acquaintance who is nice to see for a few minutes most days, but we're glad that He doesn't ask very much of us.
Except that He does, and we just try to ignore that part. Let us go to church, maybe even go to Bible study or have a quick daily devotional time, but let's not listen too hard, or we might hear Him calling us to a third-world country or the slums or some other place full of needy, inconvenient people.
Sorry for the preaching. Well, I'm not really sorry for it. Somehow this fits in with the thing God is doing in my life.
I don't think for a moment that I've wasted my life; in fact, for the past 15 years I've worked as a Christian journalist, communicating God's truth to several million readers. I can't think of many privileges or callings higher than that.
I don't know if God will lead me at some point into a different vocational path in fighting human trafficking. It may well be that I'm supposed to stay in my current field and use that platform to publicize the issue. But--and many of us writers feel this way at times--I sometimes wish I could be doing the ministry instead of just writing about it. These days I find myself daydreaming about caring for rescued slaves and, I'll admit, beating up the bad guys (but I'm pretty sure that will never happen).
And I know that the writing itself is ministry. For those of you who know me, don't worry that I'm about to chuck everything and move or drag my family into poverty. But in some ways this reminds me of the situation we faced a few years ago, when my current employer moved halfway across the country.
My wife and I had to decide if we were going to stay where we were or go along to the new location. After awhile my wife had a rather marvelous thought: "Let's not agonize so much about the question of staying or going; maybe this is God expanding our horizons to go somewhere else--and that could be anywhere in the world."
So we looked into moving to Australia. That didn't work out--they didn't want us. But somehow, even though "the whole world" was a lot more nebulous than just "stay or go" with my current job, the thought that God might have something completely different in mind for us was surprisingly comforting.
So I guess these rambling thoughts are just part of trying to figure out why God has hammered me so hard with this issue and why He seems to want me involved in some way. Whatever way He wants, I want to be obedient. I'm pretty sure the next step for me is simply to call the first meeting of the Clapham Circle of Lancaster County. I'll try to set a date soon.