South Atlantic District

An Intentional Life

Posted on Friday, May 13, 2016

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 1 Corinthians 9:24-27(NIV)


Early in my spiritual formation, someone gave me a little plaque that read, “Only one life will soon be past - only what’s done for Christ will last.”  As a young man, I am sure I read the statement, agreed with it intellectually and dismissed the “one life soon past” assertion. As a young twenty-something, life seemed endless at that point.

This week I will hit a mile marker, age wise, that years ago seemed far off, distant and old! But the sands of time are relentless. All of us are running a race with a finish line. The only question is how am I running it? To address this question, the MEG groups across the District this month have engaged in an exercise to consider our level of intentionality in 2016. Since life habits begin as repeated intentional actions, we wanted to make sure we as congregational leaders were engaging in intentional goal-setting for this current year. What are the outcomes we believe the Lord has asked of us this year?

We set up three targets (as in archery) with three distinct bulls eyes: one for soul care, one for marriage-family and one for ministry (job) responsibilities.  The big question for each target was “Before the end of 2016, with God’s blessing, we will. . .”

To help us “sight-in” on our targets we asked each other four micro-questions:

What am I to do?
Why will it matter?
Who will it benefit?
What will it cost me?

The Scriptures assure us that this kind of exercise is a worthy one. Ecclesiastes 9:10 reminds us that our work has an end point. The preacher tells us that prior to that ending we are to engage in work including gaining knowledge, wisdom and planning. (The elements of a good work ethic.)

Finally, the aging apostle Paul, perhaps reflecting on his own life journey, says the following: “whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive an inheritance as your reward. You serve the Lord Christ!” [Col. 3:23-24]

Yes indeed “Only one life soon is past. . .”  How are you living it?