Some of us remember more about the 60’s and 70’s than the caricatured images in the media. We lived them. We may have worn the bell bottoms and flashed an occasional peace sign, but we weren’t into sex, drugs, and dropping out.
Some of us were part of the Jesus movement. We flooded the college dorms with evangelism; we witnessed in coffee houses that played the new folk-sounding Christian music; we studied the Bible in small groups that the institutional church sometimes considered suspect. We felt we were part of once again turning the world upside down for Jesus.
Yet, somewhere along the way, as the song goes, the music died
We married, some had kids, most had careers. The passion that at one time fueled evangelism was turned to making money and a good life. We turned John 10:10 from a promise of the eternal life of God gave to believers into a justification for pursuing our version of what “life to the full” meant. We settled. From studying the Bible, we turned to studying stock portfolios, investment options, and how to get ahead. From concentrating on evangelism, we perfected our golf game or the perfect recipe in our spare time. We look forward to retirement.
I imagine Moses, at age 80 may have had similar thoughts. At one time he wanted, he tried, to do something great for God. He felt God had called him to free Israel from oppression; he felt it so strongly he even killed a man he saw wrongly treating a fellow Israelite. But instead of his Jewish brothers recognizing him as liberator, his actions forced him to flee Egypt.
That was a long time ago and Moses had settled into a routine in the desert—tending sheep, raising a family. Wandering around the desert. At 80, I wondered if he couldn’t help but think that maybe it was time to spend a little more time in the tent than tending the flocks. He was probably tired.
But one day a bush was burning.
The God of second chances never stops calling
God called Moses to an extraordinary destiny and a second chance to do what he had been called to do, born to do.
How did Moses respond? Did he jump at the chance to at last make his life count for something? Did he praise God’s faithfulness in not forgetting him or his calling? Not even close.
He whines. He makes excuses. He tells God to send somebody else.
But God is persistent and finally Moses responds, thinking maybe he can get his brother to do most of the work. His wife isn’t happy about the trip and he probably wasn’t either. But Moses started back on the path of God’s calling in his life.
It never got easier
When Moses went back to Egypt his vision of deliverance was not fulfilled immediately or easily.
As is often the case, things got more difficult before they got easier. The people blamed him when the children of Israel were required to make bricks without straw after Moses first approached Pharoah about letting them go. The people did not respond with faith, trust and prayer—they complained and accused. That response set a pattern that would not change for the next forty years. God would act, the people would forget, Moses would get blamed. It never got better from an earthly viewpoint.
The trade-off in responding to God’s call
The last chapter of Moses life was never easy, but it was extraordinary. He became the deliverer that forty years earlier he had felt called to be, but now he did it God’s way. It was much more difficult, complicated, and trying than he ever could have imagined as a young man. He never seemed to get thanks or praise from the people, but he got to know God face-to-face. He wrote the first five books of the Bible, dictated directly from God. He became the greatest lawgiver and prophet of Israel.
Boomers—think back to your first love of Jesus. What did you feel called to do? Did you do it?
Or are there things you know are still undone?
Are you responding to God’s call in the Great Commission to share the good news of the gospel and make disciples? Did you start or complete the ministry vision God gave you when you were young?
Are you creating a heritage for your children and grandchildren of a life committed to God, or are you spoiling them with treats and trips and self-indulgence? How are you spending your money you worked so hard for? On yourself and your grandkids or are you showing them how to meet the needs of a hurting world?
Answering God’s call is never easy, never without difficulties or cost, but the eternal returns are far beyond anything you can imagine. Leaving a godly heritage and example of a life honestly, totally committed to God, (and not just the example of a person who goes to church regularly and doesn’t commit outrageous sins) is by far the best gift you can give your children and grandchildren.
Beware the burning bush
Be open to a fresh encounter with God. Spend time in His Word and honestly ask Him: “What do you want me to do at this time in my life?” His Word burns with challenges, calling, ministries, and motivation to spend your life on something other than retirement comfort.
Be open to a calling and ministry that will challenge you, invigorate you, and return to you your first love and calling in Jesus. Remember. . . . .
Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus . . . .And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11 filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God. Phil. 1: 3-9