Invested: Make Your Life Count

These days I live a bit on the redneck side of life.  I wasn’t always that way but I get it honest as my family has pretty deep roots out in Texas.  Whether it was the oil fields of west Texas or the farm land to the east, I eventually came around.  Back in the high school days when I was trying to get as far away from my parent’s way of doing things, I wondered and struggled with just who I wanted to be and what I wanted to do.   God got hold of my life as junior in high school and it was then that I heard God’s call into ministry. 

At the heart of that calling, was a desire to make sure that my life counted.  As I got older I realized that making our life count, may not always mean being counted as the best or the greatest.  One of my favorite songs on the subject comes from a Montgomery Gentry song from few years back.  Take a listen…

(I started the video at 2:20)
I learned quick those GTO's don't run on faith
I ended up broken down in some town north of L.A.
Working maximum hours for minimum wage
Well, I fell in love, next thing I know
The babies came, the car got sold
I sure do miss that old hot rod
But you sure save gas in them foreign jobs
Dad, I wonder if I ever let you down
If you're ashamed how I turned out
Well, he lowered his voice, then he raised his brow
Said, lemme tell ya right now

That's something to be proud of
That's a life you can hang your hat on
You don't need to make a million
Just be thankful to be workin'
If you're doing what you're able
And putting food there on the table
And providing for the family that you love
That's something to be proud of
And if all you ever really do is the best you can
Well, you did it man

I suspect you’ve got a song or two like that one that bring you back down to earth.  I suspect that when that song comes on the radio or pops up in your play list, you want to belt it out at the top of your lungs and you hope no one else is in the mini-van.  In those moments, you wonder, how have I made my life count?

I suspect Moses was a lot like we are.  He’d been run out of Egypt for fear of getting caught for murder.  He won the hand of a shepherd’s daughter and was spending his life living the life taking care of a bunch of sheep when he met God in a burning bush

Exodus 4:1-5 ESV  Then Moses answered, "But behold, they will not believe me or listen to my voice, for they will say, 'The LORD did not appear to you.'"  (2)  The LORD said to him, "What is that in your hand?" He said, "A staff."  (3)  And he said, "Throw it on the ground." So he threw it on the ground, and it became a serpent, and Moses ran from it.  (4)  But the LORD said to Moses, "Put out your hand and catch it by the tail"—so he put out his hand and caught it, and it became a staff in his hand— (5)  "that they may believe that the LORD, the God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you."

Bob Hulsman of the Barnabas Foundation brought to my attention what maybe one of the most overlooked questions in the Bible, “What is that in your hand?” Moses saw a staff.  A stick.  A tool.  God saw in it an instrument of grace to free a people who would be God’s chosen ones.  Whatever we have God, God can and will use! 

Stewardship and giving is not and never has been about trying to give all your money to a church.  I can see how you might feel that way though.  But stewardship is exactly like the conversation between Moses and God at the bush, we respond to what God is doing (a bush that is burning but not burning up) and react to what God calls us to do (throw down the staff).

A word from God should lead to action for God.

I was 16 when I was offered the opportunity to give to an organization called Compassion International.  Back then it was the cost of a cup of coffee a day.  For $16, I could adopt a starving child.  At 16, I had a job and I realized, “I can do that!”  I did, and that was how I learned to tithe.  A word from God lead me to an action for God.  God didn’t need me to give.  I needed to give, I needed to understand everything isn’t about me.  Eduard needed me to give too, because he needed to live.

You may not believe that what you have is a gift from God.  I get that but also suspect that along the way in the life, you had some circumstance, some person that helped you out and gave you a step up.  There is word for that, it is called prevenient grace, or the gifts God gives you before you even know God is giving it!

By giving, you are investing.  You are going to be an instrument, a gift of grace to someone else.  Like Moses, you have something in your hand, something in your life, something in your career, you may not think it to be much at all but as Shawn Lovejoy, Pastor at Mountain Lake Church, noted a few years ago to me, “God qualifies the unqualified.”  God takes a Moses and he takes a Jonah, a Noah, an  Elijah, a Peter, a Paul, a Martin Luther, a Martin Luther King, Jr.  But he also takes a Ken, and a Don, and Deborah, and a Logan, and a Donny, and a Josie, a Randy, a Bob, a Patience, and a Ruth.  And God calls us.  And a word from God leads to action for God.

“And if all you ever really do is the best you can, well, you did it man.  That's something to be proud of,  that's a life you can hang your hat on.”

What kind of life are you hanging your hat on?


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