Sometimes God gives us extraordinary gifts. I mean, He’s already offered eternal salvation and reconciliation with Him, but even beyond that, he blesses us in unexpected and undeserved ways.
Much as I find it hard to grasp, I really do believe that God delights in our enjoyment of life. He rejoices when we receive a gift from him with eagerness and praise and thanks. He smiles on our joyfulness. Our temporary happiness, however, is not His end goal. It pleases Him, sure, but he never intended for His gifts to be either our source of joy, or our consuming focus.
As I was thanking God for one of His gifts in my life, I sensed both his smile over my happiness, but also His gentle adjure: Eyes on the prize, baby, eyes on the prize.
God wants us to enjoy the gifts we receive in this life, but never at the expense of our focus on the ultimate prize. Nothing He can give me now, can compare to the gift of Himself. One day I will step through the gates of death, and be united with Him, my ultimate prize. Any gift I receive here, is only as valuable as the extent to which it points my eyes towards the greater prize.
When we ask ourselves this question, we often ask it in the context of a success and fame driven world. While as Christians, we may not be wondering ‘how can I be great,’ but we often as not are wondering ‘how can my ministry be successful?’ or ‘How can I do great things for God?’
I’m not sure these are bad questions to ask, but as I was praying through this recently for my own life, I sensed God give me clarity on how to achieve success: I need to redefine the goal.
In my life, God must be the prize, not ministry success. The goal is to seek Him more; love Him more; find more joy in Him.
As I pursue God, I may find that he uses me for some great, joyous purpose. He may give me what the world defines as ‘success,’ but if He doesn’t? Who cares? I’ve already attained the greatest treasure.
Run the race so as to attain the prize, but don’t forget that He is the prize.