This is a turning point. A time to draw a line in the sand. Life is about to change.
I feel an urgency, and preparing for the next 30 to 40 years is no longer my priority. Preparing for tomorrow is now my focus.
As I read in the word, I am reminded that my life is a vapor.
“Come now, you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city and spend a year there and engage in business and make a profit.’ Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. You are just a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes away. Instead, you ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.’” (James 4:13-15, NASB)
In America, we live and breathe for the future. We make money so we can enjoy life now and be comfortable later. We count the years, months, weeks or days until retirement. We plan and save and collaborate so that we feel secure.
But, in the Bible we are taught that we should pursue what the Lord wills. We should ask him, and follow his lead. And he has lead me to a place of surrender.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t be responsible with our money or prepare for our future; rather, I am saying that God is calling me to look at my life as a vapor and live accordingly.
What if God’s plan doesn’t involve me being here in 30 years? Or even three years?
I am not living in fear, I’m living in reality.
What does God want me to do now? What does his word tell me about my priorities?
First, and most importantly, I am to love God.
“Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’” (Matthew 22:37, NKJV)
I also know that I am to love (and, thus, serve) my neighbor.
“‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” (Matthew 22:39, NKJV)
I am to tell others about Jesus and make disciples.
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19, NKJV)
I am to serve God instead of focusing on money.
“No one can serve two masters; for he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Matthew 6:24, NKJV)
I am to make God the treasure of my life instead of possessions.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21, NKJV)
I am to provide for the poor.
“Then [Jesus] also said to him who invited him, ‘When you give a dinner or supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.’” (Luke 14:12-14, NKJV)
I am to seek Jesus first and trust him for my daily needs.
“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:31-34, NKJV)
Of course, there are other priorities I could list, but these are a few of the ones God is having me meditate on as he continues the work of changing my heart.
I do not want to waste my life. I do not want to be disobedient. I do not want to be selfish with my resources. And I don’t want to be so self-focused that I miss opportunities to impact God’s kingdom for eternity.
This life isn’t about me. It’s not about my comfort, or even my security. It’s about Jesus and his plan and purpose. Period.
In contemplating these truths, I have had to weigh the way I live my life against the scales of Jesus’ teaching and commands. Unfortunately, much of my life looked different than it should if I wish to obey Jesus.
Regardless of what the world, our nation, our culture, our society, the media or even my friends tell me, I am ultimately responsible to follow Jesus. And, if Jesus tells me that I can trust Him to provide for me if I do that which He has called me to do, then I choose to trust Him.
Everything else on earth can be taken away in the blink of an eye — our possessions, our retirement, our physical freedom, our security, our loved ones ... even our lives. But kingdom things can never be taken away from us.
Thus, our family is prayerfully choosing what we should invest in, and our investments are beginning to look quite different than those that are temporal.
If I can really trust Jesus to provide for my needs, then I can really pour all I have into the lives of others for the sake of the gospel and know that my heavenly father will always take care of me.
Quite honestly, I’m finding joy in this reliance that I’ve never experienced. There is a sweet freedom that comes from complete dependence on God. I finally feel like the pressure is off and I can breathe easily knowing that as I seek to take care of his flock, my good shepherd will take care of me.
Thank you, Lord, for being such a good shepherd.
Misty Shultz holds master’s degrees in marriage and
family counseling and
Christian education. She can be reached at