07 Jul Where’s your ladder leaning?
My late father-in-law, John Osteen, is still my favorite minister to have ever preached. One of the best phrases he used was one about success. It went something like, “When climbing the ladder of succcess, be careful you don’t get to the top, only to find you’re leaning against the wrong wall.” In other words, live intentional. Invest in the right things.
I believe if Jesus was walking the earth today, He’d express a similar sentiment. If we want to make a difference and fulfill our purpose on the earth, we must be intentional about investing in the lives of those around us. We’ve got to help them see and hear the Gospel so that they understand it in a way that they could never deny the goodness of God.
I think one of the best examples of how to do that is found in the beginning of the Bible– with the first couple– Adam and Eve. Let’s see how God invested in them, even in the middle of their brokenness, in order for them to experience His goodness.
Here’s the context of our story, in short. God created a beautiful garden for Adam and Eve to live in, with one condition: they could not eat a certain fruit. Satan came to Eve in the form of a serpent and tempted her until she gave in. She ate the fruit and got Adam to sin right along with her.
God handled it by starting with two questions. The first one was, “Where are you?” He asked this to show that He cared more about their soul than their sin. The second question He asked was “What must be done now?” He asked this to help clear the confusion out of their hearts so that their mess would turn into a message with God’s ability to bless.
We live in a world full of broken people, scarred by sin’s marks. But we too can help them to see the goodness of God by following His pattern. We can show them we care about their soul more than their sin and help them clear out the confusion so they don’t stay stuck in sin’s mess. We can bring justice to their situation by showing them we love them right where they’re at, and bring righteousness to their situation by showing them that they don’t have to stay there.
Ephesians 4:15 says it in another way. It says, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Speak the truth in love. Bring righteousness and justice. Clear out confusion and show you care. These are all similar ways of saying the same thing. When we use God’s twofold strategy, it works. People begin to see, hear and understand His goodness.
At the end of my life, I want to get to the top of my ladder to find it leaning against the right wall. Don’t you? Let’s start living intentional, helping people by creating good memories amidst their messes.