What did you want to be when you grew up? Most of us are grown up or in the process of being grown up. What were your goals and dreams back when you were younger and what are they today? Are you achieving what you hoped for?
When I was 5 years old my parents, like all parents, asked me that dreaded question, what do you want to be when you grow up? What does a 5 year old know? I think most youngsters at that age say things like, I want to be a fireman or an astronaut or I want to be Kobe Bryant. Or whatever they think looks cool. But I was not like my most kids and I made a mistake when I answered that question. I said I wanted to be a doctor.
I have no idea where that came from. I think I must have been brainwashed when I was 4 years old to think that there are only 2 occupations in life — doctor and non-doctor. And from a seemingly harmless response to a question, from the time I was 5 years old until halfway through my college career, my fate had been sealed.
And whenever I wavered in my pursuit of being a doctor, my parents would remind me, remember what you said you wanted to be, it’s your dream. And I was trapped by my own words.
My worldview was that everyone was a competitor and I have to out-compete others and strive to be number one to prepare myself for a profession in medicine. Obviously, God had a different path in store for me, but my brother is doing his medical residency so my parents have at least one doctor in the family.
Following this theme, today, I would like to follow up on P Daniel’s message from last week and explore Apostle Paul’s worldview. How did he live his life, what drove him, what sustained him even when things got tough, what did he want to be or what did he hope to gain at the end of his life?
I’d like to start with a simple question that illustrates a basic truth about Christian life, which Paul understood very well.
Have you ever been constipated? Of course, you have. You eat some cheeseburgers, some chili fries, a burrito and you become plugged up. I’m usually very regular, well, beyond regular if you know what I mean. That’s TMI, I know.
But a few weeks ago I was eating badly and I got badly stuck. And it’s a terrible feeling. I had to take fiber pills and drink lots of water. And through this, I was reminded of a very important biological principle that whatever comes into our bodies must come out.
And Pastor Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel asked his congregation, Are you constipated spiritually? Because the same principle applies – whatever you receive from God, it must come out, it must be shared.
Paul understood this principle very clearly. In 1 Cor 9, Paul says, I am all things to all men that I might save some, and then he ends that verse with, and I do this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. The one who understands the principle of whatever I receive from God, I must pass it on to others ends up sharing even more in its blessings. That’s just how Christian life works. It is more blessed to give than to receive.