(Reposted on 12/26/13 from 8/4/10 – one of my favorite postings…)
John 17:1-5 1 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: 2 As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. 3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 4 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
2 Timothy 4: 1-8 1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; 2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
I suspect that these few days of schooling and family are to blame for my thought tonight. Somewhere along the way I was looking toward an ending of the trip and feeling rewarded that I had arrived.
1. Travel to Sacramento to enjoy lunch with a good friend and president of Apostolic School of Theology.
2. Travel to Fullerton, CA to enjoy 8 days of intensive schooling with little time off.
3. Travel to Arroyo Grande to enjoy my family for Christmas and relaxation.
4. Travel to Yelm and return home to my busy life.
When I travel somewhere, something I have always known about myself, I don’t want to sleep. Sleeping means I’m basically unconscious. Unconscious means I’m missing something. My wife can sit and read a book on the journey. Not me. I’m always looking around so as to see everything there is to see.
- Notice that funny looking cow.
- See that sheep with her two little black newborn lambs.
- See that rusted out truck sitting in the grove of trees. Wonder what year it is. 20’s, 30’s??? Should I go check it out?
- I wonder where that road leads to? Sure looks like an interesting side journey.
- Look at that road sign. It’s the same as earlier – it must be a loop of some sort.
- Wonder what the name of those trees are? Eucalyptus…
- I wonder how long this road goes straight without a bend or turn? Let’s do a mileage check.
- Look at that MPG gauge – 25.1 with a tail wind.
- Look at that carload of people – let’s count the number of heads.
- How many horses in that pasture? See that palomino… What color do you call that one? How many hands is he?
These kinds of observances are constant for me. I can do this for hours and never hold a conversation, listen to music, pay attention to the radio, or even be concerned with life in general.
We do not see things as they are. We see them as we are. ~The Talmud
Yet, I’m always excited in some way to reach the end of the journey: Lunch plans, Great school, Wonderful family time, Home – my own bed.
When I look back over the previous journey’s I realize that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the journey as much as I enjoyed the destination. However, for me, there is nothing like the journey!
When Jesus reached the end of his time on earth, he glanced back over his life and recapped the successes.
- I have glorified thee on the earth:
- I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
- Many other “I have’s” are mentioned later on.
During his adult ministry, Jesus always had a goal in mind. Perhaps they are listed out something like this.
- Honor my Father in Heaven
- Honor my parents on earth.
- Pray always.
- Keep my focus on the job set before me.
- Be sensitive to those around me.
- Reach out for those that will follow me.
- Teach, train, and be an example, not only to the 12, but also to everyone everywhere.
- Be sensitive in spiritual things.
- Be aware of the hurting and needful ones.
- Accomplish the mission that was set before me.
- Endure everything that comes my way.
- Be faithful in all my “church” related things.
Perhaps this is what is missing in the church today. We are so often self-absorbed in our own desires and less in what God has called us each to do. Personally, I want a section of land (640 acres) to live in the middle of and never see another person unless I’m ready for them! I would love to have a horse, a cow, a few goats, some chickens, a garden, a tractor, a 5th wheel, etc. Then I think about retiring years and where will the funds come to live by. And somewhere embedded in this list comes God and the church.
I pray that we are successful in living everyday so that we can reach the end of the journey and recap our life as Jesus did.
However, that is Jesus. God. King of all. Creator. Supreme ruler. Then, why sing?
I’ve been on the mountain with Jesus, I’ve been through the valley’s so low, yet not one time has he failed me. When to him with my burdens I go. To be like Jesus, to be like Jesus, on earth I want to be like him, all through life’s journey, from earth to glory, I only ask, to be like him…
Somewhere along the way, Saul was living out his life and calling. Trained at the feet of Gamaliel, he was on the fast track to become a major Pharisee – perhaps even the highest one. We know that he was alive during the time of Jesus – perhaps in training in another place. In the early chapter of Acts, he becomes zealous for the Law, perhaps even a Zealot – persecuting those that were followers of Christ, throwing them in prison, accenting unto their death. He stood by while Stephen was stoned. He pushed for permission to travel and had letters that allowed him to quell the Christian movement.
While on the road to Damascus, he comes face to face with The Christ. We don’t understand all that really happened, but Saul becomes Paul. His mission now changes. It seems that all his knowledge as a Pharisee is now used to understand the Christ instead of yearning to quell the movement. He is now one of “them.” Moreover, much of what the church is in strength today is because Paul followed Christ.
What does Paul do now? He lays all his personal goals and desires aside and picks up his cross to daily follow the Lord. When he reaches the end of his journey, he declares to Timothy in his second epistle… Chapter 4:
6 For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: 8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
How can we be ready to face the end of our life’s journey if we’ve not lived the life as Jesus or Paul? Don’t think they are someone we have no hope to aspire to live like. They are our examples!
We sing the song,
“This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through…” yet we are making this world our home! Don’t move me out of my comfort zone. I want things the way they’ve been for a thousand years. My pew. My church. My pastor. My home. My job. My desires. My toys. My… My… My…
Many have left the comfort of home to go and dig out new works, forsaking family and comfort, without the support of financial systems or offerings. Heroes of our present day faith, not someone found in Hebrews 11
- I never met Bro French, but his dying wish was for “Just One More Place…” – one more church, one more soul, one more opportunity…
- Bro and Sis Freeman gave up all to serve on the mission field, and after 49 years returned with no place of their own.
- Bro and Sis Demerchant still living in the jungles of South America after 40 years of missions.
Each of you knows someone you can name that are true examples of living their life for Christ.
I found these quotes today on the internet and throughout my various messages from the years of preaching and teaching:
- “Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” (Greg Anderson)
- “The road of life twists and turns and no two directions are ever the same. Yet our lessons come from the journey, not the destination.” (Don Williams, Jr)
- “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end” (Ursula K LeGuin)
- “To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping” (Chinese Proverb)
- “Success is not a place at which one arrives but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey.” (Alex Noble)
- “Too often we are so preoccupied with the destination, we forget the journey.” (Unknown)
- “If you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.” (Lewis Carroll)
- “What people forget is a journey to nowhere starts with a single step, too.” (Chuck Palahniuk)
What is the Journey for this church? For you? For us?
God called us together for such a time as now. He will not leave us or forsake us. He has thoughts and plans for us. Are we willing to focus on the journey and not the destination?