For All of Us
For which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn’t sit down first and compute the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish the tower, all who see it will begin to make fun of him. They will say, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish!’ (Luke 14:28-30)
Jesus originally spoke these words, not with regard to a single, specific task, but rather in the bigger context of following Him as a disciple for life. Nonetheless, from the perspective of folks on the outside, the unfinished project of a well-intentioned soul often can look like a monument to folly.
The truth is, our futures in this life are never mapped out for us in meticulous detail. We walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7) from point to point as the Lord shows us the next thing He has for us. Quite often, this walk is not in a straight line “due north.” We zig and we zag in order that God may cultivate this virtue in us here and that skill in us there. The zigzag path tests our faith so that it can be proven true or shown to be weaker than we perhaps had admitted to ourselves. (1 Peter 1:6-7)
And so we do what’s set before us today. We learn sometimes that the path we were on does not take us directly to the goal we had thought it would. Instead, it takes us to a waypoint where a new insight is found, a new skill is cultivated, a desirable character trait is strengthened, or a weakness in our lives is dealt with.
All the while, “the one bringing forth in you both the desire and the effort – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.” (Philippians 2:13) When we go through life depending day by day on the Lord, looking to Him and asking, What now?” we can be sure that He will lead us to those good works that He has prepared beforehand for us so that we may do them. (Ephesians 2:10)
If we yearn–not for the lusts of the flesh, the lusts of the eye, or arriving in a place where we think we can boast about something we have accomplished, but instead for doing that which God created us to do–we can be certain that He will create the desire in our heart and He will equip us with the skill and the endurance to do such a good work and do it well.
There is much to be said for endurance and perseverance. Steadfast endurance is another topic for another day. Suffice it to say for now, sometimes the difference between success and failure is simply perseverance. At the same time, wisdom tells us that there is a time for letting go, whether it’s letting go of a car that’s given you about all that it can or letting go of unrealistic expectations.
It’s unrealistic to expect that one person can juggle too many tasks and be effective in them all. Consequently, we all have to evaluate the merits of persevering in tasks that distract or hinder us from the main things, the non-negotiable things in life. This evaluation must be undertaken over and over again at different points in life. And at different points in life the answers on what ought to be cut will probably vary.
Perhaps there are some things–not bad in and of themselves–that we need to label “Avoid at All Costs.” Why? Because they take a toll on our relationship with God, our closeness to our spouse, our ability to serve others, or our optimal effectiveness at work. Sometimes, it’s not easy to let go of a good thing in order to maintain or even to increase devotion to the bigger or more important thing.
For 260 Reasons for Believing
So is 260reasonsforbelieving.com a monument to a project started, but not finished? No. While I do apologize for taking so long to elaborate on why I have posted so infrequently over the past few months, 260 Reasons for Believing is not going into mothballs.
In this post, I’ve given a biblical perspective on why some things need to move up or down the priority list–or even be abandoned altogether. I’d like to invite you to read the next post, “What’s Going On with 260 Reasons for Believing,” to find out the specifics on how my spiritual journey has necessitated some changes. Lord willing, 260 Reasons for Believing will be here, but in a different way than I had originally planned.