I am reading a book called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller. The premise of the book is what is the one thing each of us wants to accomplish in our lives and how do we go about accomplishing that. There are no Scripture references in the book and yet the principles are Scriptural. If we were to write down what the one thing is that we want to accomplish in life and then work backwards to accomplish it, we would have daily purpose. Oftentimes, we start each day off without a particular purpose and end up “flying by the seat of our pants.” Think about this thought, “what is the one thing we want to have accomplished in our lives.” These are the big dreams. Michael Jordan did not one day wake and say he was going to be a great basketball star and then try out for the Chicago Bulls. Neither did Thomas Edison decide to make a light bulb, then it happened. These men had a goal and then worked backwards and dedicated much time to the neglect of other things in order to accomplish this goal. They had one thing.
As Christians we should want to hear at the end of our earthly journey, “Well done thou good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:23).
How each of us get to this “one thing” is going to look different, but the verses in I Samuel 12:20-24 help us to have a direction in order to work towards that one thing. The old saying, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” fits perfectly into this idea. “Flying by the seat of our pants” may be easier but it is hard to accomplish anything this way.
…but serve the Lord with all your heart. And do not turn aside after empty things that cannot profit or deliver, for they are empty. For the Lord will not forsake His people, for His great name’s sake, because it has pleased the Lord to make a name for Himself. Moreover, as for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you, and I will instruct you in the good and right way. Only fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart. For consider what great things He has done for you. (I Samuel 12:20-24).
These instructions given to the Israelites can help us to set a course towards being good and faithful servants. Here is a condensed list of these things.
- Serve the Lord with all your heart
- Empty things are empty for they do not profit or deliver
- Instruct what is good and right
- Fear the Lord
- Serve Him faithfully with your whole heart
Let’s look at each of them seeking to apply them to our lives today.
“Serve the Lord faithfully with your whole heart.” This is included twice in this list so it must be important. Serving comes from an attitude of humility. An attitude of humility comes from a proper view of ourselves. God does not ask us to do something that He Himself was not willing to do. This is seen as Jesus walked the earth: washing the disciples’ feet, eating with the down and out people, caring for the poor and destitute. Jesus did not seek positions of leadership but rather positions of service. In serving others, we can serve the Lord. This is not something that is done inconsistently but rather it is to be done “faithfully with our whole heart.”
Ask yourself a few questions:
Do you serve with joy or grumbling?
Do you look for ways to serve or do you have to be told what to do?
Which jobs of service do you seek: the ones that will get noticed or the ones that go unnoticed?
As you are serving is your attitude one of serving for self-gratification/self-pleasure/self-recognition or to please the Lord?
When you perform an act of service are you sure to draw attention to yourself and what you did or do you seek to give others credit for what they did?
Some of these answers are seen by others and others are known only by you and the Lord. Examine your heart. Focus on serving faithfully with your whole heart.
We can all “fly by the seat of our pants” or we can have a purpose and determination in our days. Think about the end of your life and work backwards. As you do plan the course, be sure to keep the end in mind.
“Serve the Lord faithfully with your whole heart.”
(We will finish looking at these principles in future blogs.)