Summary: Learn to respond to God’s call and vision for your life
Let me begin this morning’s message by asking, “How many more days do you expect to live? If you expect to live another 60 years, you will have 21,900 days. If you expect to live another 20 years, you will have 7,300 days. If you expect to live another 1 year, you will have 365 days.
Let me ask you a second question: “If you could accomplish just one more thing in the days remaining, what would that one thing be?”
This morning, we’ll be looking at how each one of us can more wisely use the time of our life. I’m not talking about time management. As Paul J. Meyer noted, we really cannot manage time. The sun comes up, then the moon comes out, and another day passes. Furthermore, time is perishable. We cannot save or store up time for later use.
The Apostle Paul wrote to the Christians in Ephesus, “So be careful how you live, not as fools but as those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity for doing good in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but try to understand what the Lord wants you to do. (Ephesians 5:15-17, NLT).”
This means that we are not given time on earth to do as we please. Whether we are living wisely or foolishly depends on whether we are doing what God wants us to do. In addition to God’s purposes for mankind or God’s specific instruction about our relationship to God, to our spouse, to our children, to our coworkers and employers and to our material possessions, the Bible also identifies God’s specific calling for individuals. Sometimes, the Bible presents God’s call on a person’s life as a vision or the one thing that God marks out for the person to do in his or her lifetime.
I think it’s important for each one of us to know what God calls us to do within our lifetime and to do it. Don’t you think? Not only is knowing and doing what God wants us to do important and wise, but knowing and doing what God wants us to do within our lifetime give us focus, motivation and direction for life.
The Apostle Paul is just one of many in the Bible who successfully lived out God’s calling for his life. So when we study his life, we have the opportunity to learn what enabled Paul to live out God’s vision for his life. This morning’s text is Ephesians 3:1-13.
In 2 Timothy 4:6-8, Paul wrote in his final letter, “For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day--and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”
How could Paul so confidently state that he did what God wanted him to do within his lifetime? Maybe we can make some observation from Paul’s life for our own application. Let me share five observations from this morning’s passage in Ephesians.
First, Paul assimilated God’s vision into his life. Verses 1-5.
Before Paul met Jesus Christ, he was known as Saul. He was a Jew who studied under one of the leading Jewish teachers, Gamaliel. He was a Roman citizen, a highly prized status of his time. He also possessed formal Greek education. Everything thing Saul needed to succeed in this world he had.
And then Jesus Christ entered Saul’s life in a vision. God’s vision for Paul was to use Paul to carry the name of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. And the journey would involve suffering.
Paul assimilated this call or the vision from God into his life. This vision of bringing the good news to the Gentiles and the Jews became his life’s preoccupation. He eventually brought the testimony of Christ to the Roman Emperor.
God calls each one of us to leave our mark for Him in this world. He may not call us to a new occupation, but he calls us to a new preoccupation. I was preoccupied with helping Asian come to a right and healthy relationship with God and with one another even when I was working at Chiron Corporation.
God’s vision comes to us in different ways, and His vision for each one of us is unique. Maybe God came with His vision to you sometime ago. Rarely does His vision fit our initial life ambitions. So assimilating God’s vision into our life requires our adjustment and our conscious choice.
In many instances, people ignore God’s vision as a passing dream. Or others resist God’s vision for their lives because it differs too much from their personal agenda or their abilities. If you’ve resisted God’s vision for your life because you didn’t understand before, ask God again for His vision. No matter how many more days you have remain, it’s worth doing what God intended for us to do.