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“Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” – Acts 9:4-6 (NIV)
In other words Jesus says to Saul…
- Saul you have forgotten why you’re here.
- Saul you have misplaced your reason for existence.
- Saul you have been barking up the wrong tree.
- Saul you have been emphasizing the wrong things.
- Saul you have gotten your priorities out of whack.
Let’s take a minute to really understand who Saul was. It was Saul who was at the stoning of Stephen in Acts 7, it was at the feet of Saul that those who murder Stephen for his faith, laid their coats. Saul had power, Saul had connections, Saul was well-resourced, Saul was well financed, Saul was networked, Saul was good at what he did and he allowed what he possessed, he allowed those gifts and those blessings of connection, and networking, and financial backing and his relentless passion to possess Him. Paul had it backwards. Jesus showed up on the scene and quite literally knocked Saul off of his high horse
You see Saul allowed what he had to possess him.
That’s what happens to you and I when we put on the blinders of “stuff”. That’s what happens when we start viewing our jobs solely as the source of our income or our prestige or our network or our net worth. That’s what happens when we start to forget that our primary purpose in this world isn’t to collect stuff and to teach our children how to collect stuff. We are called to be on mission for the Kingdom.
Your workplace isn’t a seedbed of potential income, it’s a seedbed of those who are yet to be introduced to the person of Jesus Christ.
If you flip over to Acts 26 you catch Saul who is now Paul and is still using that same passion and commitment, he’s still networking, he’s still connecting but this time it’s not to persecute believers but to encourage believers. He’s standing before King Agrippa having been charged with heresy, having been charged with inciting a mob. In other words the people didn’t like what Paul was preaching. So Paul finds himself before the King recounting the account of what happened on that road to Damascus. I love what Paul says in Acts 26:16, in his own words he summarizes the words spoken to him by Jesus when he says, “Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me.” – Acts 26:16 (NIV)
I love that because I believe that that’s the call to you and I as believers as we talk about the role that our jobs and our material possessions play in our lives. We are called to, “Stand up on our own feet and realize our appointment as a servant and a witness of what we have seen God do in our lives.
- Your stuff isn’t solely about the joy it brings you. It’s about using that stuff to bring glory to God and using that stuff as a witness of what you have seen Him do in your life.
- You’re not working for the man, you’re working for the Man.
- We’re not working for a dollar that’s going to pass away, we’re working for an eternal reward.
- We’re not called to collect stuff, we’re called to help harvest souls.
After his conversion experience with Jesus Paul sees and understands this idea in a whole new light. Listen to what he says in his letter to the church at Corinth, “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:18 (NIV)
Paul came to an understanding that all of this is temporary, what really matters is what’s eternal. You see up until the point of his conversion Paul was battling against flesh and blood. It was after his experience with Jesus that Paul came to the realization that there was a battle raging around him that he had been unable to see.
Ephesians 6:12 (NIV) says, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
What would it look like for you to make a fresh commitment to the Lord in these areas? What would it look like in your life to re-focus your energy at work away from just collecting a paycheck in an effort to buy more stuff and more towards compiling a list of those who do not know Jesus Christ that you can reach out to?
What would it look like in your life if you made the commitment to not allow your possessions to possess you? What you pare down? Maybe for you it’s the commitment of re-claiming your garage, yes so you can finally park in their but more than that it’s a stake in the ground declaring that you are not dependent on all of that stuff.
God I pray that you would give me the discipline to not allow my stuff to get in the way of what you are calling me to live out.