What's skills are you developing? Who will you be tomorrow? The harsh fact or, maybe, the encouraging fact is that you will be tomorrow the skills you develop today.
In the movie Taken, Liam Neeson's character, Brian Mills, was a former CIA operative. When he received a phone call from the person who took his daughter hostage, he said in a dark, mysterious, and firm voice, "I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. If you are looking for ransom, I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you." Brian Mills had skills that I don't have. Skills he acquired over a long career in the CIA. That skill set enabled him to pursue the kidnappers of his daughter and save her.
Although Taken was a fictional story, skills in real life work that way. We can only do things today that we set out to learn and do yesterday. This is a theme that I regularly repeat in these articles because it is something I need reminded of along with it being something that we all need to grasp if things are going to be better tomorrow than they are today.
Nothing is more dangerous than getting caught in a rut and just going through the motions. Our wheels just spin, getting us nowhere. We've all seen this happen to people, churches, communities, and other organizations. When we become comfortable or complacent in our rut, life will just pass us by. We have to strive to be who we want to be because we will never be able to accomplish the dreams we want to accomplish tomorrow unless we work on developing ourselves today into a person who has the skills to do those things tomorrow.
However, this isn't just some pop self-help idea despite being a practical concept useful for businesses or any other organization. On the individual level, many people imprison this idea of working toward a better tomorrow to their financial and personal realms. It becomes only about making a better me. A better me that the world values. We want to work hard and study hard so that we can get a good job that will provide us with nice houses and good vacations. But on the other side of having a good job, nice house, and good vacations is meaninglessness if that is all there is. Those are all good things. I hope that you can all have good jobs, nice houses, and good vacations. And I believe you can if you set out a plan, work toward it, remain disciplined - if that is what God is calling you to.
Which brings me to something more important than creating an environment conducive to bringing us personal pleasure. We need to be faithful servants to God. People who bring His kingdom here to earth as much as possible. Sometimes God calls us to experience Him in ways that aren't immediately perceived as blessings. When that happens, we need to be faithful. Sometimes he calls us away from the good job, the nice house, and the good vacations. Again, when it doesn't make sense, we still need to be faithful because it is more important that we become who God wants us to be rather than invest our time and resources chasing after the fleeting pleasures of this world.
Being who God wants us to be - like the good job, nice house, and good vacations - won't happen by accident. It's something we have to think about. It's something we have to work on. It's something we have to pursue. We might not be saved by works, but we can't be involved in bringing about God's will into this reality unless we work. Unless we get busy doing the things God wants us to do.
Augustine said, "For grace is given not because we have done good works, but in order that we may be able to do them." Too often, we are only concerned about being saved, but God has saved us for something other than just getting to heaven. It's amazing how when we are faithful to him today, he calls us to do greater things tomorrow. We can be involved in bringing God's will into this broken and fallen reality. Even if heaven were not a reality on the other side of the grave, the life God wants us to live today is far greater than selfishly pursuing the things of this world.
You were saved for something. Are you going to get there? Are you going to realize God's dream for your life, or are you going to miss Him and His plan for you among all the physical things this world throws our way. The distractions. The blessings. The trials. They are all things there to shape us into someone spiritually better than we currently find ourselves. But they will only transform us into someone better if we let them.
God is not going to force His will on you. You must choose to accept it. You must decide that you are going to invest your time into developing the skills that God will use tomorrow to fix the broken things in this world. To comfort the hurting. To restore justice. To help the oppressed. God's plan for this world is bigger than you or me, but the amazing thing - or should I say the peculiar thing - about God is that we are in those plans. He is not going to force His will on us. We must choose. We must act. A better tomorrow depends on it.