- Genesis 19:26 (NKJV) But his wife looked back behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.
- 2 Kings 4:24 (NKJV) Then she saddled a donkey, and said to her servant, “Drive, and go forward; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.”
Recently I read that when famed missionary to Africa David Livingstone volunteered as a missionary with the London Missionary Society, they asked him where he wanted to go. He replied, “Anywhere, as long as it is forward.”
When I read that snippet from David Livingstone’s life it had particular significance for me that day, for it was a “planning day” for me. A few times throughout the year I sequester myself away for a day or two and spend time alone in prayer and study and in seeking direction from God for how He wants me to conduct my life and ministry.
These days really help me to clear my mind and heart and I always get back in the flow of life a better man. However, I must confess that Livingstone’s response brought me great comfort on that day for I’ve never been one to have this great specific vision for what God wanted to do in my through my life and ministry. Basically, for the last 35 years I’ve just gotten up and tried to move forward and it has worked pretty well for me.
I suspect the pressure we put upon ourselves to have a clear vision for our lives comes more from the expectations of society than from God. I have discovered that for the most part God is very vague on what His plans are.
Think about Abraham, a great leader and the father of the Jewish people. God told him to go but He gave Abraham no clear directions. He said basically, “I’ll let you know when you get there.” (Genesis 12:1)
Then there’s Moses, another great leader and the founder of the Jewish nation. God told him that he was to deliver the Jews from slavery and lead them to a land of promise that would be where they would exist as a nation. However, God was very vague on how this was to be done and what the land of promise would be like. Basically God told Moses, “I’ll tell you what to do when you get there.” (Exodus 3)
Think about the directions Jesus left for his disciples (to this day). We call it the Great Commission. You can read it in Matthew 28:19 but basically it matched David Livingston’s strategy—just get up each day and go forward.
However—and this is very important, there is one thing all three examples have in common, and this would be true with any biblical example, and that one thing each of these examples have in common is that God promised to go with them.
Sonja and I have often looked back over our amazing life and ministry together and scratched our heads at the mercy and kindness of God. When we started we had no grandiose plans or vision, but we did love God with all our hearts and we’ve tried to please Him. Oh we’ve failed many times and come up short many times in that effort, but one thing we did get right, we kept getting up and moving forward—trying to do the right thing, the wise thing one day at a time.
And it has worked. Without a master plan or visionary strategy we have managed to get a few things right and make a few worthy contributions toward fulfilling the Great Commission. Was it our smarts or our talents? Heavens no! It was that God kept His promise—He never left us, He’s never failed us.
I’ve waxed a little longer today than normal; but this little glimpse into Sonja and my life and ministry has not been to talk about us; I’ve mentioned these things to say this: Like Sonja and me, you may not be one of those people who can mastermind a major visionary plan of progress. That’s OK; let me remind you of the only two components you need have to make something meaningful of your life.
- First, have a desire to move forward each day in pleasing God.
- Second, trust the promise—Jesus said, “I will never leave nor forsake you.” (Matthew 28:20)
Over a lifetime your batting average will fluctuate—sometimes you’re do better than at other times, but Jesus’ average will be 100%; between the two of you—something good and worthwhile will be achieved, you can count on it.
Let’s get out there and go forward today!