Prov 18:16 A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men
One question that I remember being asked every year from the time I was little until I became an adult was, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The funny thing was, when people stopped asking me that question because I was too old to be asked it anymore, I’d sometimes still ask myself that question. “What am I going to be when I grow up?”
My daughter Stephanie finished college with pretty clear answers to that question. She wanted to be a great wife, a wonderful mother, a communications major, and her developed skills for God in ministry. She is now doing exactly all those things. My oldest son Jeffrey seemed to know exactly what he wanted and is now happily doing it.
I’m blessed that they had such a handle on where they wanted to go in life. It was never an easy question for me to answer – that is until I came to receive Jesus as my Lord. Then everything began to change. God’s Word didn’t give me a career choice per se, but it did put me on a definite course. As my desires evolved through the Word of God, I knew I wanted to be married. I knew that I wanted to be w world class husband. I knew that I wanted to have a family. I knew that I wanted to work hard and provide well for my family. I knew that I wanted to be an Olympic best father.
We’ve often been told, “You need to get a vision for your life so you can plan and work toward the goals God gives you.” God’s Word confirms that so I began to preach that to myself and to my kids growing up. Hab 2:2-3 says “And the Lord said to me, ‘Write the vision – those things I reveal to you plain and clear so that those participate in it can read and understand it…if it seems to take more time than your comfortable with, continue to pursue it, it will surely come to pass.'” I understand vision and planning now. I’m trying to live by it. But, as a young man the vision for my life was a total mystery.
There were four verses in the Bible that seemed to steer my course as I labored to figure out my vision. They cried out to me and seemed to be more important than anything else. One was Genesis 18:19, “For I have chosen Abraham, because he will direct his children and his household after him to keep the way of the LORD by doing what is right and just, so that the LORD will bring about for Abraham what He has promised him.” That was powerful to me. God chose Abraham because he’d train his household and loved ones in the Lord! That would result in great blessing for Abraham. What a compliment and credit to Abraham from Almighty God Himself.
The second was Paul’s comments about his friend Timothy in Phil. 2:20-21, “I have no one else like him, who takes a genuine interest in your welfare. For everyone looks out for his own interests, not those of Jesus Christ.” I sincerely cared for people and wanted to care for them with no strings attached, with no motivations for get-backs, but just because God loved them! It’s like I craved to be this person Paul described. (Not just because my name was Timothy either.)
The third verse was Prov 10:4 “Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” My father instilled a strong work ethic in me that took. I believe it’s one of my greatest strengths. This promise only reinforced it the need for it’s development.
The fourth verse was today’s Fresh Manna verse. “A man’s gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men.” God shaped my heart to despise self-promotion and instead taught me to believe my character and the fruit of my efforts would speak for themselves and bring promotion if I was deserving of it. Because of this, over the years, if I wasn’t promoted, I only pointed the finger at myself and blamed no one else. I’d only work harder and more diligently. I tried to never blame anyone else because these were more than just words to me. They were a covenant promise from God. If I worked the gifts and abilities God gave me, they would bring promotion. No man could hold back what God promised would be mine. It was my responsibility to work hard and receive His help and grace in every step. God would take care of the promotion!
I didn’t know what my career was to be. But I did know what I wanted to be. The good husband, the good father, the person God could count on, the person who took a genuine interest in the welfare of others – a faithful and diligent worker. Those things were etched in my heart. They were clear so that I could run with them. In the pursuit of my different endeavors through life, these core values were what helped lead me. The created boundaries and rooting for whatever vision I needed and would be led in throughout my life and still play into everything I’m involved with today. They were the things that shaped me and brought me to where I presently am.
Vision is critical to the success of what we pursuit, but so are the core values that God places in our heart that are too often thrown out the window for the sake of attaining the goals of Vision. I may not initially have known what career I wanted to walk out, but I knew what God raised as desires and priority in me. They helped ground me for whatever vision I was to run with and one I am confident will help get anyone to where they are supposed to be.
In His Love,
Pastor Tim Burt
Published by Pastor Tim Burt
Copyright© 2009 Tim Burt, All rights reserved.