This weekend (Thursday thru Saturday) I was privileged to be the speaker at the Young At Heart (formerly Senior Saints) Camp @ Pleasant Valley Christian Camp. The assigned topic was “One Step Beyond, Where Is God Calling You Next?”. I must say it was a challenging topic, mostly because I don’t know where I’m being called next. I am sure there is a next, but what it is and how to get there are still a challenge. Still, that was the assignment and so venture forth I did.
I chose four Bible characters to serve as models to help us determine the how and where the call will lead.
Abraham was first. He was given a promise that frankly seemed impossible. He was to become a great nation but as yet, at 75 hadn’t even started the process. We looked at how his faithful hope (and hope is the key here) kept the promise alive. He tried to accomplish the task by his own means, adoption of his servant and a son via his wife’s slave. Neither of those is what God had promised and the second turned out rather badly for all involved. Finally, Isaac was born, a great nation birthed, and the world has been blessed through him in Jesus Christ.
The second character was Moses. In Moses we find God a work preparing a man for a very unique task. He was to get Israel out of Egypt and into the Wilderness. Once in the wilderness he was go lead this fledgling nation through what was to be forty years of homelessness. These were two very different skill sets. A prince of Egypt would have been poorly prepared to lead wilderness experience and some Sinai shepherd wouldn’t get into the gate at pharaoh’s palace. Two unrelated experiences converge to make Moses the great leader he was to become. The idea we shared was on this convergence. We concluded with, “Retirement doesn’t have to be limited to golf, skydiving, or bike riding. I look forward to those things. I look forward to time with grandkids half of whom will be graduated from high school and busy with their own lives. There is a world out there that needs old farmers, bankers, welders, grocery clerks, and insurance sales professionals. Maybe those are the skills God needs, or maybe simply some lessons we learned along the way which make us valuable to the kingdom. And maybe that is the most important lesson of the day. We can all be valuable to God’s kingdom.”
Solomon was our third character and he offers a rather negative example. He asked for and was granted great wisdom. Because he asked for this he was given wealth and long life to boot. Yet, despite all his wisdom, and the promise of life if he kept God’s commands, he still strayed from the path. His downfall was the 700 wives and 300 concubines who turned his heart from David’s God to their gods. As a result most of the kingdom was lost and he faced God’s anger. His name is noticeably missing from Hebrews 11 and perhaps he will not be in heaven for eternity. We then looked at some pitfalls that can trap us: fear, anxiety, depression, loneliness, self-centeredness. These are all potholes we must avoid.
Paul was the final character and we talked about legacy, what we are leaving behind. Legacy can come in many forms and we talked about some of them: things with our names on them, missions we support, our families, and a life well spent were among them. When we consider Paul he shows us what legacy can be.
The lessons of Abraham, Moses, Solomon and Paul still ring true today. Hope in the promises of God still drive us. God takes the various, unrelated parts of our experience to weave a great kingdom tapestry. Solomon reminds us that we must always keep our focus on God. The wisest among us is not immune to failure. And Paul reminds us that we can and must take care of legacy. We all leave tracks in the sands of time. Where those tracks lead is critical for those who follow.