Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The Most Important Service

Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs--he wants to please his commanding officer. (2Timothy 2:3-4)

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. (1Corinthains 9:24-25)

My sister’s wedding is over. I have to say, I’m glad. Planning a wedding and executing the plan, while she was getting ready to deploy to the Middle East (4 ½ weeks from telling me to wedding day), was intense for all involved. In the time leading up to my sister Rebecca’s wedding; my home became grand central station for wedding planning. Rebecca and Brenton, who had been on the marriage track for awhile (stuck in that horrible saving for… everything-from ring to wedding-stage), decided that they should get married before my sister deploys to the Middle East. So in a matter of a few short weeks a wedding was planned. Understandably, allot of things still needed to get dealt with in the week leading up to the wedding.

However, as they were in the midst of wedding planning, something stood out to me; something that at first seemed odd, and eventually left me impressed. The wedding is not the most important thing in their life (especially his). The most important thing in is preparing for him to return to the military as a member of the Special Forces. He is in incredible, strict, focused training. He carefully monitors what he eats. He’s up at 5, working out. He’s at the gym twice a day, lifting, exercising, preparing. He runs with a rucksack filled with sand. On and on the list goes, because while the wedding is important; the most important thing in his life is being ready for a higher calling. And lest you think he is alone in this, Rebecca is in on this single-minded focus. Together they are aiming at this higher goal a reality. The wedding is important, but there are things that are even more important.

I found myself thinking about this in relationship to the Christian life. As Christians, we are called to a service that is greater than the U.S. Military. We serve the King of kings, and Lord of Lords, the One “who was, and is, and is to come”. And yet, often, our faith in Christ is treated like an add-on, rather than the thing that shapes and defines who we are and how we live. But if this is how one lives as they prepare for special forces and service to the nation, how much more focused should our preparation and lives be as we seek to be prepared to live for Christ? The rest of life is important, but some things are of the utmost importance and demand incredible focus.

Here’s the point. It’s a question that’s started to form in my mind as I’ve watched Brenton train. How is your life arranged? Is serving Christ the most important thing? Or are other things of the greatest priority? You were created for His Glory (Isaiah 43:7), and commanded to “Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33). You were “called out of darkness and into his glorious light” (1 Peter 2:9) by the one who died the death you should have died. Can you see the cross, and is it driving you to grateful service to Christ?  And are you aimed at serving your commanding officer with your life shaped and molded by the gospel; or are you so involved in the day to day cares of this world that you find that you lose sight of the cross, and service to Christ is something you never get around to? Are you so busy that you never get around to training, preparing, growing? Ultimately, you can chase a crown that will not last, or you can seek the crown that will last forever. What is the aim of your life? And what are the things that are the greatest priorities in your life? Ponder this as you go about your week.

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