Summary: To be successful in life, you must force yourself to learn the things you don’t want to learn.
Christ is coming back...He’s coming back at 7:00 pm tomorrow night!
Now, we realize that this is an absurd statement, because no one knows the day or the hour of His return.
But humor me for just a few minutes. What if we all knew our Lord was going to return tomorrow evening at 7:00 pm? What if we knew this to be a fact? We would have the rest of today to think about it, and then all day tomorrow before the big event. What would we be doing?
Undoubtedly, many churches would hold special services, for prayer, praise and worship in anticipation of the Lords second coming.
The ladies would prepare food and refreshments, the worship teams would plan their musical pieces, and perhaps the pastor would speak about the glory of Heaven. There would be all-day and all-night prayer vigils.
These are things that we know how to do...years of experience have made us quite good at it...we know how to worship, pray and praise the Lord in our churches. And there is nothing in the world wrong with that...were taught to fellowship, worship, praise the Lord and to pray. We are supposed to do all these things on a regular basis. Its good that were good at it!
But thats not our primary directive from Jesus Christ Himself, is it? fraid not...Our primary responsibility is something that were not very good at, and something that we don’t have much experience with, something that we really don’t understand how to do all that well, and so we tend to avoid our primary responsibility.
In my former career as the owner of a photography studio, I studied under the renowned photographer Charles Lewis. Something he taught has great relevance to everything we do in our lives...and here it is:
In order to be successful, you have to force yourself to learn the things that you don’t want to learn.
Thats it. Lewis was speaking of the photographers who were great at creating beautiful portraits as works of art, but who were virtually clueless when it came to running a business. He was saying that if you want to be successful in the photography business, you have to force yourself to learn the business part of it - the part you don’t want to learn.
This is true in everything we do...not just in our vocations, but also in our relationships.
Many people desire to be married, but have little or no interest in learning about the dynamics within the marriage relationship. As a wedding photographer, I spoke with countless couples who looked forward to their wedding day with great anticipation, but complained openly about all the counseling sessions the church required before the wedding. I dare say that many of those couples have since become statistics in divorce studies, because they didn’t force themselves to learn the things they didn’t want to learn.
So what is our primary responsibility as Christians? Lets look at Matthew 28: 18-20...
He told His disciples, I have been given all authority in heaven and earth. Therefore, go and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and then teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you; and be sure of this - that I am with you always, even to the end of the world.
There you have it. We might not like the job before us...we might say its too difficult, that were not gifted in the area of evangelism...I’m sure we can all think of a lot of reasons why we cant make disciples. But this is our primary responsibility, nonetheless. So if we are to obey the Lords command (not suggestion), then we have to force ourselves to learn the things we don’t want to learn!
Not all of us can be involved in world missions, but we don’t have to go to the other side of the world to make disciples. Lord knows theres plenty of need here in the United States! We can go next door, or to the people we work with, or to our unsaved friends.
Following the tragic events of September 11 in New York and Washington, America turned (briefly) to God. But most people didn’t receive the answers or direction they needed.
We can still drive down the street and see all the signs on businesses with such sentiments as God bless America, Pray for America, Pray for the Victims, etc. These are wonderful sentiments, but I would guess that most people don’t truly understand what they mean. But it seems that now, even as we draw closer to the Lords return, and perhaps more than ever in recent times, people are searching for answers, looking for direction in their lives which they are not finding at the bars, in secular entertainment, or even in the many varied New Age theologies.