“Who knows if you were put here for just such a time as this?”
Last Sunday, I was tasked with writing an evaluation on the sermon at our church. Whether I was paying extra attention because I knew I had to comprehend and regurgitate main thoughts, or whether it was just that good – it has stuck with me.
We are on the book of Exodus, and I’m going to be honest, it hasn’t been my favorite. But Sunday changed that moment. So here we are, in Exodus 33. Moses has the daunting task of continuing to lead a group of people, and he is asking God to be with them as they travel. God says that He will be with them wherever they go, and then Moses does something interesting – he asks if he can be in God’s presence. He wants to see the Lord.
Moses gets exactly what he asks for, and then doesn’t leave. Matt (our pastor) then poses the question to us – “If God gave us everything that we wanted, would be still want to be in His presence?”
Woah. If we had everything that we ever desired, would we still be reliant on God? Matt talked about the guy that works every day to get all of the money he thought he would ever need. Who does he then become? Someone that gives back with his wealth and extra time? Or does he become someone that is worse off than he was to begin with? Someone that shows off his sin more than ever? When you get all that you want, THEN what would you ask for?
When we dive down to our deepest desires, what does that look like? Is God’s presence within our hopes and dreams, or are we self-reliant in all of our efforts to get what we want? I ask all of these questions because they are the ones that have been spinning in my head over the past few days. Not because I have the answers and I’m going to have a pivotal moment in a few paragraphs. I’m just as profoundly lost as you are. But there is so much hope in that. So much hope in the fact that there is room for change and room for growth in my heart. Hope that we serve a dissatisfied God that won’t stop bringing these moments of question until we have become who He created us to be.
But on a smaller scale than our hopes and dreams – how are we shaping our every day lives? What is the nature and presence of the Lord within my decisions and my lifestyle? And the most important question of this week – does the spirit of God define me? This question stirs up so much emotion as I type it out that tears come to the surface, because I am suddenly so aware of how much work is to be done, and how aware I am of my need for the Lord. Suddenly so aware of how much I fall short every day. I look back on my week and ask myself if the light of God was shining to those around me, or am I barely glimmering in the darkness?
I have a friend named Jessica. When I’m around her, I see that light. She shines brightly. From the moment I met her, I knew something was different. I knew that her desires were for the Lord and for those around her to be loved. When she speaks to me, I feel like I am the only person in the room. She is intentional, she is caring, and I admire her greatly for it. When I think about living out life in a distinct manner, she is the first person that comes to mind. So thank you Jessica, for being a light. I want you to know that not one moment of it goes unnoticed.
So how do I then form my life to look like that? How do we live it out? I caught myself in a situation not too long ago. I was in a room where I felt comfortable around half of it, and not the other. Once I said hello to those I talk to on a regular basis, I kind of sat back and then picked up my phone. As soon as I unlocked it, I put it back down. I love people who are welcoming and kind. Those that make you feel important. What is stopping me from being that person? Why can’t I get up and make those around me feel loved? The answer is nothing. And I can. So I did. And the next day I received a text from someone in that other half thanking me for being welcoming. That it made her feel included. I wanted to cry, but more than that, I wanted to keep going.
Which gets me to my next point of question that Matt so greatly keeps touching on – “What are we doing to be distinct as a group of people?” Can others look at you and say, “There’s something different.” Do those around you undoubtedly know where you stand on your relationship with Christ?
At dinner about a year ago, we learned that some friends of ours are not believers, nor did they express an interest to learn. I shared this with one of my mentors and I love what she told me: “Wow. What a profound obligation you now have to them to live your life as Christians.”
A profound obligation. How many around us don’t believe? How many around us then get that more confused when we don’t live our lives as we should? A profound obligation is absolutely right.
For those that are reading that are influencers, what are we as a group of people doing to be distinct? At the top of this, I wrote a verse from Esther: “Who knows if you were put here for just such a time as this?” Perhaps we were put in our position of influence for a reason. What is your reason? I can guarantee you it wasn’t to sell someone a top. While that is also important (my closet is extremely important), I want to come back to the question of and title of this post – “Are you proud?” And when I say influencers, I am not just referring to those that have a space online. Teachers, mothers, boss ladies – all in positions of influence over others. Are you proud? When you look back on your time and what you have taught others, what will that look like? Are we using our influence in the right ways?
In the Hillsong United documentary, the band talks about the responsibility they have to write lyrics that speak truth because they are literally writing the words that will come out of the mouths of others. So what words and thoughts are we giving to those around us? If our children were to live out their lives exactly as we have, would we be okay with it? Or would we take their tiny hands and try to lead them in a better direction? And like Moses, do we really want God to travel with us if He isn’t going to lead us in the direction that we want? In the direction towards all of the goals and dreams that don’t involve Him?
We usually associate the saying, “Don’t stop until you’re proud” with work, achievements and the glorification of busy. I would like to propose a change to the saying. “Don’t stop until you’re proud” of who you are in the eyes of the Lord. Don’t stop until you are distinct and your deepest desires are living your life as He wants it to be.
At the end of Sunday’s sermon, Matt said this:
“There’s something different about her. There’s something different about the way she thinks, the way she lives – she has resources that come from a different world. She has a wisdom and a lifestyle that come from a different world. She has values, and security and a confidence that come from another place. She is connected to something much bigger than just the circumstances of the moment. Something different is driving her.”
What an Instagram bio that would be. You were put here for such a time as this. Let’s live it out together.
To watch last Sunday’s sermon from Grace Church, click here.