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Books for those in ministry organizations who desire to take their leadership, teams, governance, and ministry effectiveness to the next level.

08 Aug '11

The American Dream and God's Dream

Posted by T.J. Addington in gospel, suffering, The heart
As one who travels the world and sees how most of the world lives, I can say with great thankfulness that I enjoy freedoms and opportunities that are absent in much of our world. The ability to make a living, to have a home, access to childcare, a judicial system that while flawed in many instances is better then most in the world and the list could go on. For many, the "American dream" is alive and well, if not a bit more complicated than it used to be. 

Whether we live in the United States or another developed country we have much to be thankful for. The alternatives are so much harder and more difficult.


But....


God's greatest goal for us is not that we are comfortable, have all we need and live a pain free life. His greatest goal is that we experience Him in all His fullness, live out His purpose and destiny for our lives and daily take up our cross and follow Him. The great irony is that all we have are blessings from His hand but those very blessings can easily sidetrack us from the very thing that will bring us our greatest pleasure and His: Living in the center of His will! It is the paradox He warned the Israelites of in Deuteronomy where He warned them of being seduced by their prosperity, allowing themselves to think it was from their own hand and divert their attention from full followership of Him.


If comfort was our goal, Robert Morrison would never have been the first missionary to China, leading to a Christian population today of over 100 million. If comfort was our goal, the translators of Wycliffe Bible Translators would not have gone to remote villages to spend their lives translating the Good News. Nor would Paul have put up with beatings, shipwrecks, death threats, poverty and hardship for the sake of the Gospel - among whom we are the recipients. If comfort was the goal, the men and women of Hebrews 11 would not have followed God to hard places and suffered hard things for His sake. 


Jim Elliott had it right. "He is no fool who gives up what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose." All God asks is that we follow him closely, respond when He speaks to us and live lives that are in alignment with His heart. Ironically, the very things He may ask us to do are the very keys to our own joy and legacy. 


No one will regret for one instant in "eternity" what they sacrificed for the sake of Christ in "time." Many will regret for all eternity that they didn't follow Him more closely in this life. Our comfort is always secondary to our followership but in that followership we find joy beyond belief.