While pastoring a church in rural Wisconsin, I came into contact with an elderly woman named Joan. At her advanced age, she was limited in what she could do, but that did not stop her from investing in eternity. Forced to sit for long periods of time, she took up knitting. Joan knitted some of the cutest little outfits for an AIDS baby project.
Consider life seventy-five years from now. Joan will be long gone. Yet, someone may pull a quilt or an outfit out of a box and tell their grandchild, “When I was just a baby, abandoned in a hospital, one of God’s people made this for me. When I’m sad, or I feel like no one cares, I remember what God gave me through this person and it makes me smile.”
Wow! When we submit to God’s plan for our lives, when we begin to use our talents and energies to fulfill God’s plan, eternal things happen!
Contrast Joan with David Strickland. In mid-90s, David starred with Brooke Shields in the hit sitcom Suddenly Susan. For his work, David received a salary of roughly $100,000 per episode. Later that decade, he also co-starred in the movie “Forces of Nature.”
David’s life was surely looking up. He was a good-looking TV star with a budding film career. He had money, a cool car, a girl on each arm, and everything else you can think of.
That means fulfillment, right? Wrong. Feeling empty, David turned to drugs, alcohol, and sex to fill the void. When those did not work, he checked into rehab and got cleaned up.
He quickly fell back into the same destructive habits. This vicious cycle repeated itself several times, until David finally took his own life.
Haven’t we seen this played out again and again? Chris Farley, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Whitney Houston, Tony Scott, Mindy McCready, Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and so many more. They appear to have everything we lie in bed dreaming about, only those things did nothing to fill the emptiness in their hearts.
When you don’t start with God, life is never lived as it should be. When you do start with God, only Heaven knows the impact you will make!
If you want to learn to play the guitar, start on page one of the lesson book. If you want to learn to play basketball, start by learning to dribble. And if you want to learn what you were created for, start with God.
What is your starting point?