Recently I’ve been wrestling with a fear that has the potential to be crippling. It’s a fear that could catapult me into hyperactivity and a busyness that leads to little or no real fruit. It also has the potential to paralyze me by the possibility of making wrong decisions and doing nothing as a result. The fear I’ve been wrestling with is the fear of wasting my life. Essentially, I fear coming to the end of my days and feeling that I have nothing to show for my many years of toil on earth. I fear the regret that I spent my life focused on and worried about all the wrong things while missing what really mattered.
As I’ve reflected on this fear, two quotes have recently challenged me to think through this and consider the significance — or insignificance — of my life:
Only one life, ‘twill soon be past. Only what’s done for Christ will last. — CT Studd
And people who do not know the Lord ask why in the world we waste our lives as missionaries. They forget that they, too, are expending their lives…and when the bubble has burst they will have nothing of eternal significance to show for the years they have wasted. — Nate Saint
The weight of these quotes comes from the finality of what they are referencing: death. Once we come to the end of our lives, there will be no time for change, no time for new commitments, no time to pick up the slack. Once we come to the end of our lives, we will only be able to rejoice or regret as we prepare to stand before Jesus and give an account. So, the question I ask is, “How will I spend my life?”
This morning, I was continuing my reading pattern through Luke and came to Luke 21:1–4. This story about the widow’s offering is tremendously convicting because it challenges us to be all-in for the Lord and His work. Here’s the story:
Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the offering box, and He saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. And He said, “Truly, I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on” (ESV).
When I read this, I’m tempted to say that I am like the widow, putting in everything for the sake of the Lord. However, I know there are things in my life, both financial and otherwise, which I hold on to and fail to release to Him. I am challenged and convicted to live all-in — to really give it all — for the sake of the Gospel.
So, what does it look like to live sold out for Christ? That’s a question that each of us needs to consider in the quiet of our hearts as we pray before the Lord. There is no prescription for a sold-out life. Many have tried to give one, but the inevitable result is that legalistic, pharisaic, religious tendencies will creep into any list of rules we make. We must be cautious in this regard.
However, regardless of the practical outworking, what God desires is that our whole hearts and our whole lives are dedicated to Him. That will look different for different people, but if we want to be serious about making disciples, then we must make certain that we’re walking as sold-out disciples ourselves. What will that look like for you today?
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Dustin Speaks is the Mission Mobilization Pastor. He and his wife, Lauren, arrived in Columbus in the fall of 2012, after several initial ministry experiences. Dustin previously served as an associate pastor in South Dakota and as a missionary to university students in Berlin, Germany. Dustin studied history at Ohio University, where he met Lauren, and was involved in campus ministry with Cru. After graduation, the Speaks went to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Chicago) to complete a degree in Intercultural Studies. He enjoys playing nearly all ball sports—basketball, golf, and soccer are his favorites. Dustin and Lauren have three young children.