Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life?
What is your life??
From the moment we are born and start to grow up, are family and culture has a plan for us. We go to all our school and graduate. We go to college, we meet a nice girl or guy. We graduate college, land a plum job, and marry our nice girl or guy. We have kids, and continue plucking away at our jobs until we retire.
I can't count how many friends and acquaintances I know where this "checklist" has been faithfully checked off and whittled away over the years. This checklist is imposed on us by our parents, our family, our culture... they all measure our success by how we measure up against this checklist.
Have you graduated school? Good work, son, you're on track. Why can't you go get a good job, (you know, one like the one your aunt has)? Have you met a nice guy yet? No? Well obviously you're doing something wrong, go back and fix whatever it is you've messed up, so you can get back on track.
I want to know where God is in this checklist, and where we start listening to His plan for us instead of our own.
You are a mist for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "If it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins".
Jesus calls us to follow him. "Come, follow me, and I will make your fishers of men". At once, they left their nets and followed him. (Matt. 4:19-20) In James, we are told that if we know the good we ought to do (follow Jesus) and don't (live our own culture-based lives), we are sinning.
So what do we do to reject the culture and its demands of us, and embrace what plan God has for us?
Personally, I find myself at the point now where I am ready to run away from what culture wants. I know it will be hard, and I know my family will be disappointed in me for getting off of track of my "checklist". My hardest part now, is to listen to God, and really hear and listen to what His plans are for me now.
I find myself thinking then ever that God has bigger things in store for me than climbing the corporate ladder. He never makes it easy too, because the empty corporate ladder dangles in front of me; if I want to take it, I've got a very secure well paid job, possibly an executive position waiting down the near future. I am good at what I do here. But is this where God really wants me? How am I glorifying Him by climbing the corporate ladder? I've been working here for a year and a half now, steadily getting better at my job, and becoming indispensable. However outside of work, I had stopped looking for a church, stopped making time for friends - the only thing I invested myself in besides work was running. Now I'm beginning to realize that while I've been investing myself in work, I've turned into an incomplete person who thinks she doesn't need God, friends, or family. If this is what I turn into by being a successful scion of our popular culture and completing my "checklist"... then I don't want it. Give me poverty and hunger, take away my job and security, if only it means I'll be a more Godly, whole person.
Like I said, I've packed my desk in my head. Now I'm just waiting for the opportunity to serve Christ in the way that He's planned for me. I pray that when I hear Him calling, I'll recognize it and follow.