Episode 1. A Whole New Focus
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Here’s a question to kick the week off for you: What are you on this earth for? I mean – what purpose, what plan do you think God has for your life? What does He want you to accomplish? Join …
Here’s a question to kick the week off for you: What are you on this earth for? I mean – what purpose, what plan do you think God has for your life? What does He want you to accomplish?
Last week on the program we were taking a look at what exactly it means to become a Kingdom builder on this earth. You see, I’m convinced that God has a plan for your life just as He does a plan for my life.
And I strongly suspect that the main focus of that plan is not to make ourselves wealthy and comfortable. I strongly suspect that God’s plan for me and his plan for you is not that we should get out there and build our own little empires – but rather to roll up our sleaves and be about the business of building His Kingdom.
Our empires, man–made empires are so vastly, profoundly different to God’s Kingdom. We want to build things that we can see – a business, a reputation, success… that’s an empire. God wants to build a spiritual kingdom on this earth that involves winning over the hearts of men and women and children with His love, through Jesus His Son.
And I think in this age of affluence and wealth, whether we’re partakers of that affluence and wealth, or whether we simply aspire to it – it’s all too ways to get the two confused. Of course, there’s nothing new in that. People had it all confused back in Jesus’ day too. Jesus was out there talking about the Kingdom of God coming, and the religious leaders (who, just quietly had been feathering their own little nests, making themselves wealthy and powerful at the expense of God’s people) well, when they heard Jesus talking about the Kingdom of God, the picture they had in their heads, was the picture of a worldly empire.
Their own despotic little empires. The Empire of Rome – that was their world view. And so Jesus said this to them:
Once Jesus was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God was coming, and he answered, “The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is! ’ or ‘There it is! ’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is within you. (Luke 17:20,21)
In other words, this is not a physical kingdom, a worldly empire, like the Roman Empire (which was at the front of their minds), but the Kingdom of God is something else entirely. The Kingdom of God lives in our hearts. It’s the relationship we have with Jesus. It’s about the glad submission of our hearts, to the will and the rule and the plan of God.
And so that brings us back to the question I asked a few minutes ago. Why are you on this earth? What purpose does God have in mind for you? There are many who don’t have answers to those questions. Perhaps you’re one of them.
Want to introduce you to a couple of men one young, one not so young that God’s brought across my path lately. Let’s start with the not so young man. He’s in his early fifties, very much in the prime of his life. He’s about to build a new house. He’s very successful in his chosen field, works for a large corporate. I was asked to speak at a men’s breakfast at his church not so long ago, and the organiser was really disappointed that not as many people turned up as expected.
I smiled – I never worry about numbers, they belong to God. And I had a sense that morning that God had some things to do in people’s lives. It turns out the thing that I was led to speak about – Psalm 139, all about God’s purpose for our lives, really touched this man. It brought something to the surface that had been there for a while. God stirred him up. Despite all his apparent success – and by the way, he’s also an elder in a very large and prominent church – this guy had a feeling deep inside that God has something else for him. Some plan, some purpose that hasn’t quite been revealed yet. I’m catching up with him shorty for a cup of coffee, to have a yarn about it.
The second man – a younger man. A very successful author and speaker – travels all over the world as a speaker and gets paid a bundle of money just to show up. Often on the news at night on TV, being interviewed about this and that – he’s emerging as the go-to guy in the media whenever something in his particular area of expertise pops up. I mean this guy has the world at his feet – he has talents and abilities that I’ll never have.
He felt to seek me out after we met at a conference – and asked me if I could spend a little time each month mentoring him. Now, the guy is full on for Jesus, he’s successful, everything’s going really well… and yet again, something inside, prompted by the spirit told him, there’s more.
As I sat having coffee with him, I know in my heart of hearts that God has the most amazing plan for this young man’s life, beyond anything that He can imagine right at the moment. Two men, in the space of a couple of months, come across my path, and just at a time when God is prompting me to write about becoming a Kingdom Builder. Coincidence? Don’t think so. I don’t believe in coincidences anymore.
I remember almost 20 years ago, when I’d given my life to the Lord, and it was the same pattern. My worldly empire was pretty successful, but my heart yearned for something. I couldn’t put my finger on it back then. I couldn’t have said to you – you know I think the Holy Spirit was starting to get me to step out on this journey to discover God’s call on my life.
But that’s exactly what it was. And I know that as I speak about this right now, there are many, many people quietly nodding their heads; I know that God is touching people – perhaps you – with this same realisation that no matter your circumstances, your age, what’s going on in your life, He has more for you.
It may not mean a change of job or career – for most it doesn’t. Or perhaps it does, I don’t know. But if your heart longs to follow Jesus, if deep in your heart you want to be a Kingdom builder, not an empire builder, then perhaps – just perhaps – today is a turning point. Today is the start of something new.
And to start to live out that something new, we need to have a shift in focus. The expansion of God’s kingdom needs to become more important to us than growing our own empire. It changes everything. It’s about putting everything on the line. Our careers, our finances, where we live, how we live – it’s not about tipping God with a 10% tithe, but putting everything on the table – all in, boots and all.
I know that’s scary. Jesus knows that’s scary. That’s why He said to His disciples:
If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life? Or what will they give in return for their life. (Matt 16:24–26)
That’s the dilemma we all face. You, me, anyone who has that nagging sense in their hearts that Jesus is calling them on to something new. That Jesus has a plan for their lives that involves stepping out, taking a risk.
But here’s the thing. So long as we stay in our comfort zones, so long as we try to ignore that… That quiet still voice that’s telling us there’s something more – we’ll never be satisfied. We’ll never be content. We’ll never have that sense of knowing that we’re on the right path; God’s path.
And that’s exactly how it’s meant to be. Following Jesus, becoming a Kingdom Builder, often means… no, it always means the end of our own little empires. It’s a whole new focus.