Life brings the unknown and the unexpected, but for those who follow Jesus, our time on earth is precious. For most of my walk, my thoughts were on what came next in the journey of life. But now it seems to be coming to an end. I see God monopolizing my thoughts and desires and disentangling the pursuits that entangled me.
I remember distinctly how happiness in my life was based on taking the next trip or acquiring the next thing only to find emptiness upon its acquisition. In recent years, I’ve discovered that God is ultimately worthy of my every thought and action. Affluence can be the ultimate thief of God’s best. The false fulfillment of accumulation cannot be compared to the glory of His calling.
In my college years, I drifted away from the Christian teaching of my youth, married Rochelle, stopped attending church and found myself en route to the US Navy. Navy life was not conducive to Christian living. During those years, our first two children were born after losing two others prematurely. A responsibility to a growing family motivated me to resume attending church. On a Sunday morning in 1960, I rededicated my life to the Lord and Rochelle accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior in a little church in Key West, Florida. Our decisions changed the path we were on but did not revolutionize our lives. In 1962 I re-entered civilian life and relocated to Cleveland, Ohio to begin my business career. Successfully building my business, I acquired a bigger home and better car and enjoyed what the world had to offer. I continued to set new goals and obtain more things. Each accomplishment did not satisfy or provide what I was looking for. My emptiness suggested that there was more to life than I was experiencing.
Invited by a friend, I attended the 1997 Global Congress for World Evangelization in South Africa. It was an experience that had an on-going effect on my life. While there, the Lord spoke personally to me through Ezekiel 11:19: “I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit within them. I will remove their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” He accomplished that in me, giving me a new heart for global evangelism and the poor, along with a new sense of urgency.
After retiring in Florida for a few years, we returned to Dayton and were introduced to Apex. Today, I have been serving as a volunteer for around ten years. They have been the most incredible years of my life. If I had to give a reason, I would say it’s Jesus working through me to serve others. It is what I’ve been missing my whole life. Nothing brings greater joy and fulfillment than offering yourself to His service. I have observed miracles right before my eyes, experienced love in the body of Christ that has far surpassed previous church experiences and discovered practical ways the New Testament Church should operate. The Lord has opened doors for inner-city development in Dayton. It has been difficult to work as a mentor after many years being the one in the middle of battle. I am learning to release what little control I thought I had to others who are forging the path for the generations ahead. I realize I really never had control because I am only carrying out God’s orders and desires.
I will continue in serving Him while He gives me breath. I regret years of wasted energy on things with no eternal value but am grateful to a God who sees me as “righteous” before Him because of Jesus’ imputed righteousness as He died on the cross to pay for my sin. Because I chose to repent of my sins and believe in Him for my salvation, I know that I am a forgiven and redeemed member of His kingdom. What an incredible God I serve. I assure you that His mercy and grace is available to you also and implore you to live for Him completely. You will enjoy the blessings that come from obedience and following Him with your life. May God grant you the eyes to see, ears to hear and faith to believe in order to live a fruitful life for His glory.
“Passion is the heart set free to pursue that which is truly worthy. Those who set their hearts on that which is most worthy – the glory of God – live with joy-filled abandon. Their hearts are both seized and satisfied with the ambition for Jesus to be ardently worshiped. That love comes to dominate and integrate all other desires so as to live in freedom of single-minded purpose. “
Author: Jim Schindler