I apologize to my faithful readers [thank you] for the fact that you have, in large part, heard the same regurgitated for months on end: life is about more than stuff. And every time I write one related to that, I hope it’s the last one. Every time I think about it, I hope it’ll finally click that I’m not less or more based on the stuff I have or experiences I’ve had. Perhaps this will be the final straw (fingers crossed.)
I got into my car this morning and I was thinking about flying. (several people close to me have been travelling lately.) I was thinking about all the horror stories I’ve heard about flying, how weather delays flights and it’s so boring and terrible to wait in the terminal; how sometimes you have to literally run to make your connection flight; how bags get lost in translation from city to city depending on whether you check them or not (it’s all flight jargon, makes no sense to me.)
I’ve never flown. I’m not scared of flying. I’m scared of red tape. I’m scared of registration and making sure my name is properly printed on the ticket, lest I be unable to fly. I’m scared of missing a flight. I’m scared of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And this is a fear that I’d do anything to face, because I want to make my own evaluation of how annoying or frustrating or rushed flying is. So I came back to the same thing I’ve been lamenting for months:
blah blah, I never get to go anywhere, blah blah, I don’t make money, blah blah, people think I’m boring, blah blah, poor me.
Finally God stopped me, the way a parent corrects their child who’s been whining about the same thing for a long time (which I have.) But I know it was God because of the way He reminded me of this very truth [in bold for effect:]
When I stand before God to give an account for my life, He’s not going to ask me if I saw the seven wonders of the world, or even if I ever made it further west than Louisville. He’s not going to ask me if I had an iPhone 5csABC123 or a flip phone. He’s not going to ask me if I read my books on a kindle or in the real form. He’s not going to ask me if I drove a nice car or a clunker that got me from A to B. He’s not concerned with whether or not I made it to every cool restaurant that I hear about.
In other words, my experiences mean nothing. What matters is my mission.
I’ve been put on this planet and I, for my own part, have been called to be a pastor. I’m supposed to love people, I’m supposed to show Jesus to people through my life and through my words. I’m supposed to lead people to Jesus Christ, where they can find true joy, true peace, true love, true redemption, true meaning, true pleasure. that’s what I’m supposed to do.
For some reason I’m thinking about the elder brother in the parable of the prodigal son[s]. I’m thinking about how bummed he was when his brother came back and he lost half of his possession (when you shake the story out, the elder brother got half of what he was originally positioned to inherit.) God forbid I be more concerned with what I get out of life than I am rejoicing when the younger son comes home.
I’m slowly but surely coming to see that life doesn’t work exclusively in superlatives. I used to think it was lame that I’ve been in the same 30-mile radius for all but six months of my life, while there are other people who never lived in the same state longer than five years. Who’s to say what’s better? They got to see a lot of places and meet a lot of people, but I’ve never had to deal with the tough goodbyes that come with moving. I (should/am trying to/am starting to) consider it fortune to have my roots planted in the same place.
Experiences matter little.
What about the mission?
The challenge here is to keep my mind on the mission despite the fact that people who don’t share my worldview don’t see my mission as important.
Remember the mission.
One day, it’ll prove to be the only thing that ever mattered.