A few months ago my pastor preached a sermon about a life well lived. Pastor Scott’s words had such a profound influence on me that day. So, I tucked away his message for safe keeping for the day I could share my thoughts. Well, I can’t imagine a better time than today as I sit in the Frankfurt, Germany Airport awaiting my flight to Abuja, Nigeria.
In 18 words, Pastor Scott summarized the depth of my passion for ministry in Nigeria and how I want to live my life.
“I don’t want to be standing in front of Jesus with my hands full of burnt up life.”
As I sat in service that day and heard those words being lovingly shouted from the pulpit, I pictured myself standing before the Lord with my hands full of useless trash; feeling inadequate before the Lord. NOT because of His opinion of me, that was still and always will be filtered through Jesus, but because of my own lack of trying.
1 Peter 1:17-19 says this:
“Since you call on a Father who judges each person’s work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear. For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”
I was bought secondhand, in all my sin, and redeemed by the sacrificial death of a perfect and pure Being. So, if Redemption Himself calls me to do something, and I do not even try to live “in reverent fear” of Him, will I not surely find myself standing before the Lord one day with my hands full of ash? Ash that could’ve easily been delicious fruit, promising adventure, redeemed souls and new names?
This doesn’t mean that being obedient to the Lord or trying to live your life with a sacrificial heart isn’t downright terrifying. Like moving to Africa as a single 28 year woman who has never been away from her family longer than a few weeks. But when I think about my other option; turning around, going home with my folks and trying my best to live life in the states, I have to ask myself the question:
“If I give up, if I choose to go against God’s plan and even my own dream, what will I hold when I stand before Jesus? What will I have to give to Him?”
*Before I go on, let me clarify something: God does not ask, expect, or demand ANYTHING when we come to Him. That’s the beauty of being a child of the One true King. Because of Jesus, our debt is paid, our mistakes are forgiven, and our lives are no longer made up of works. God has no more wrath to pour out. We can come to Him empty handed and still be welcomed in with joyous shouts of celebration. So my point is not to say that I must work and create good things before I stand before my God. That is not what I believe nor what God represents. But as His daughter, His mouthpiece, His hands, His feet, His heart, I want to love Him and serve Him as much as I possibly can while I am here on this earth.*
I believe my life was given to me to be of use. It took me a long time to figure out what that use was but now that I have, I do not want to waste one minute of it; even knowing God will accept me empty handed.
I want to move to Nigeria. I want to have adventures every day. I want to love the leper and kiss the blind man. I want to hug the orphan and pray with the prostitute. I want to hear the stories, live the memories, tell Truth, spread Hope and be remembered as a daughter of THE King. Not so that I will gain glory or be patted on the back by God. My goal is not to work and work and work so that I can present my Lord with accomplishments or completed goals, but rather to serve His world in a way that allows me to slide into Home plate knowing my hands are not full of ash. I want to finish the game with my hands overflowing with life! A life well lived.
May I not burn up this life.