Updated: Feb 14, 2022
A friend of ours was recently baptized at Flora Pool. Two things stuck out to me from her baptism. First, during her testimony she said, “I am no longer a slave to my resume.” Her statement took me back 14 years to my baptism - a time in my life before I was really a Christ-follower and I was truly a slave to my resume. Prior to Jesus really getting a hold of my heart, my focus was on worldly success. I measured success with my paycheck, my job title, my bank account – everything that is temporary, everything that is meaningless in the long run.
I remember the verses I shared at my baptism - Matthew 16:25-26, “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it. What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul?”
I remember the few years prior to my baptism feeling like I was forfeiting a lot. My kids were growing up fast. My weight was out of control. My mind was consumed with all things work related. When I was home, I wasn’t really there. Thankfully, God used some tough circumstances and a few difficult individuals in my life to show me how meaningless and empty my pursuits were. Over the course of several years, God drew me closer and closer as only He can do. The tough part is that He had to break me a bit in order to “fix” me. He took me through a few storms in order to make me refocus on what mattered.
That leads me to the second part of my friend’s baptism testimony. On her shirt was written the word “Becoming”. That word points out that growing in Christ is a process. We never arrive. We may even go backwards for a period of time. I look at my own growth over the last several years and it sure has been a process. Not a straight line; not a process without setbacks; not even slow and steady. More of a bumpy ride with times of real growth, times of plateau, times where I needed to repent and struggle to shake off one sin or another that was part of who I used to be. And, I still haven’t arrived…
Several people have asked me over the last few years, “What made you decide to work for the church?” It’s simple and it’s complex all at the same time. When the role came open at Hope, I was on the Board and praying for whomever God would bring to Hope Church as the next Executive Pastor. I remember Pastor Matt texting me one day asking if I was thinking about the role. I said that of course I was praying and thinking about who we would hire. He clarified, “I mean, have you thought about the possibility of taking this role yourself?” And so began the journey of discussion and prayer over the next few weeks. It felt like God had led me through several experiences, positioned me to work closely with Matt as a Board member, and prepared both my heart and my gifts for this time. In the end, my wife and I decided this was the right step and we felt God’s direction in taking it. 15-20 years prior I wouldn’t have been ready; I wouldn’t have thought to pray and seek God’s will; I wouldn’t have even considered it. But God works in strange ways to mold us, draw us closer, and use us.
If we let Him, it is God who will help us Become the person He designed us to be. It won’t be simple; it won’t be without bumps; but it will be worthwhile. None of us will ever arrive this side of heaven.
Paul says it well in Philippians 3:12-14. “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
No matter what is behind you; no matter who you were before Christ – keep pressing on!