Striving for what?

Posted: 2011 09 15 by Chris Goforth in Authentic Man, Biblical manhood, Challenge, Discipleship, Hardcore Christian Men, manhood, masculine, masculinity

Part of our culture tells us is to strive for more.  Go to school, get a good job, and then build your life.  Buy a car, starter home, and work your way up.  Fill it with things.  Build your career, move your way up the corporate ladder.  As you do these things, you become accustomed to a lifestyle, you easily adjust and live a way in which a lot of us never had before.  It becomes easy and comfortable.  You begin relying on it and trusting this is going to last and you are safe and protected.  You as a man are doing what is right for you family by taking care of them and providing for their needs.  You are constantly striving to do better so you can move up or at least stay where you are at.  We worry about insurance, healthcare and retirement so that when we do finish in our career we will be comfortable and taken care of until we die.  Even our departure from earth will be taken care of.

I know that my wife and I are better off financially than we were when we first got married.  Through time, we have been able to do better and it does feel good.  In some sense, I feel very proud of what I have been able to accomplish to take care of my family.  I have worked hard at my job, made a good name for myself, bought a house, furnished it, and am in the midst of raising six kids through all of it.

So what happens to us when we lose it all or it is taken away from us?  What if we can no longer do those things to provide or take care of our families.  What happens when all saving disappears, our belongings, home(s), boats, cars and insurance is no longer there.  What then do we have left?

First and foremost, we need to acknowledge that God has provided everything we have for us.  There is nothing in your possession that God has not given to you and that can be through a variety of means.  All we have comes from a God who loves us and wants the best for us.  We are stewards of that God has given us.

It’s crazy how we start out with very little, we begin adding and growing things to our life.  Our kids grow up and move on and we are left with large homes, fancy cars and tons of things and then turn around and start downsizing, getting rid of our things, passing them on to our loved ones and enjoying the remainder of life content and with very few possessions.

So I come back to striving for what?  To gain all of it and then turn around and get rid of it in the end?  What is the real purpose or value of that?  Isn’t that wasted energy?  Isn’t our time better spent on other things?  I have watched full-grown adults who had it all and then lost it and have nothing left.  They are 40 and 50 year olds who have to start their lives over again.

To me this makes no sense at all.  While I can and should take care of my family, shouldn’t I also show them they are more important than things?  What is the message they are really getting?  Is not your life more important than things?  In the end what will matter most?  What did I spend my time investing in – things or what really matters most?  Am I striving to live a life that is pleasing to the world or pleasing to God?  Are my hopes and dreams lined up with what he wants, are my plans the plans he has for me?

Philippians 4:10-20 – “10 I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.  Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it.  11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.  12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  13I can do all this through him who gives me strength.”

For me I take comfort in this passage.  I do not put my faith in any man or things of this world.  I enjoy it while I have it today and realize it may all be taken away from me tomorrow.  The concept of striving to attain things does not appeal to me, as I look forward in my life I hope my life will be about string to be more like Jesus in all areas of my life.  Freeing my life of things and hindrances that stop that from happening.

Comments
  1. Bob Balkcom says:

    Eight years ago I got to experience most of it being taken away.
    My wife was very ill to the point we’d had all tests the doctors knew to run done on her. Finally, a doctor said – “have we ever looked at your living environment?” – that started a whole string of events that led to us discovering mold in our house.
    We moved out. Threw out most of what, at that time, we would have called our life.
    The rest of the family has some level of illness related to the mold. In the middle of gutting and restoring our house we discovered we were putting a house back together that my wife, still very ill, would not be able to live in.

    …I had to pause to think about it all again…

    It was a trying time. It was also when we discovered Jesus.

    Now – all is not “perfect” – whatever that is. The house is put back together. Finances are beginning to come along. Relationships are being restored. The “things” that seemed so important before are not now. But most importantly, my wife, kids and myself know the Lord and depend on Him daily for our needs.

    • Bob thank you very much for sharing that. I really appreciate your transparency. God is continuing to show me in different ways how I don’t need things, but I need him. I want my kids to know and understand no things will every be more important than they are. I hope your wife and family is now healthy and doing better.

  2. I know what it’s like to live in a 4-bedroom house, and I know what it’s like to live in a horse trailer with my 4 daughters beside us in a large tent. We lived in the horse trailer because we had lost almost everything we owned, including my job; and, my wife wasn’t working at the time either. The funny thing is that I grew closer to God during this time than at any other time of growth in my Christian life. Even though I was learning the truth of Philippians 4:10-20, and was indeed humbled before God, I felt as though the locusts had destroyed all I had worked for the previous 25 years.

    But, God is faithful and He uses the difficult times to help us to grow. Like the gardener and his pruning shears, often times God removes much of what is hindering our full growth potential. I did grow, and so did my wife. And, we have learned to be content with less. It was a difficult time, but I thank God that He never left us.

    Things are much better today, but I am looking for God to replace what the locusts have destroyed. While we wait, I take one day at a time and give thanks to God for all He has done and all He is doing in my life.

    Chuck

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