All of us build our lives on something. All leaders are building their ministries and leadership on something.
And that something is the thing that determines what our lives become. The people we become, the places we go, and the impact that we make.
The problem for us is many of us never stop to ask what we are building our lives on. We keep going, keep pursuing, keep moving, but we rarely question, “Am I building on the right thing? Do I like where I’m going with this life?”
What life & ministry are you building?
Joe Ehrmann, a former NFL player, in his TED talk said:
If you were on your deathbed today, knowing that you were going to die tomorrow, and you wanted to measure what kind of man you were and what kind of success you had in life, it’d come down to two things and two things only.
The first is this: On that deathbed, you recognize that all of life is about relationships. It’s about the capacity to love and be loved. What’s it mean to be a man? It means you can look somebody in the eye and say “I love you” and receive that love back.
You know what the questions you ask at the end of your life are? They’re not about awards or achievements or applause or what you accumulated. They’re all questions of relationships. What kind of husband was I? Wife? What kind of father? Mother? What kind of son or daughter? What kind of friend? Who did I love and who did I allow to love me?
The second comes down to this: At the end of your life you want to be able to look back on your life and know that you made a difference. That you left some kind of mark, some kind of imprint that you were here. All of us want to leave some kind of legacy behind.
You might choose family, kids, hobbies, career choices, vacations, and trips, or your 401K to build your life on.
What many of us find if we’re honest is, we overemphasize things that aren’t that important.
If we’re honest, most of us have more strategies on how to make a career than we do on how to build a life.
In Matthew 7 Jesus said,
Therefore, everyone who hears these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain fell, the rivers rose, and the winds blew and pounded that house. Yet it didn’t collapse, because its foundation was on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and doesn’t act on them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. The rain fell, the rivers rose, the winds blew and pounded that house, and it collapsed. It collapsed with a great crash.
What Jesus is getting at is a wholehearted devotion.
Jesus wants us to see the difference between merely saying something and doing something, between hearing and doing.
To help us see, he compares two people who build a house. One on the rock, the other on the sand.
What is fascinating about both of these guys is they are both building a house, building a life.
You and I can build something, really anything.
Let’s say you and I each build a chair.
How will we know if that chair is done? If it is completed and will work?
By looking at it?
No, by sitting on it.
How do you know if a house is built and will last?
When a storm comes.
What happens when you get hit with a storm in life?
You see what matters to you. You look at the relationships you have invested in, you know the faith you have built or not built.
Weathering a storm
Right now, you might be in a storm. Your finances, marriage, career, maybe one or all of them is not where you thought it would be. Life is harder than you expected. Right now, my wife Katie and I feel like we are in a sprint that we didn’t stretch out for.
In those moments, those places, you find out what you built your life on. You find out what matters to you.
Think about it like this, have you ever experienced a storm in life and didn’t like what you learned about yourself at that moment?
I know I have.
All of us can know the words of Jesus, but belief is a different thing.
You can know something and not believe something.
Belief is not required to pass a test, just knowledge.
Dallas Willard said, “To believe something is to act as if it is so.”
Building your life and ministry on Jesus means that you do what Jesus would do if he were you. It means desiring that to be true of you, even when you miss it, which you will.
Josh Reich is the Lead Pastor of Revolution Church in Tucson, AZ. He is the area lead for Acts 29 in Arizona and speaks at a variety of conferences on church planting, leadership, and marriage. He is also the author of Breathing Room: Stressing Less & Living More. You can follow him on Twitter @JoshuaReich.