13 Forgetting the ·past [things that are behind] and ·straining toward [stretching/reaching forward to] what is ahead, 14 I keep ·trying to reach [pursuing; chasing] the goal and get the prize for which God called me ·to the life above [heavenward; upward] ·through [or in] Christ Jesus.. (Phil. 4:13b-14 EXB)
Sometimes we can get stuck in the past — the guilty feeling, the regrets, the pain, the desire for vengeance. The past can prevent us from seeing God’s purpose for our life.
One time a woman parishioner in her 70’s told me how for more than 30 years she and her sister never talked to each other. The emotional wounds they had inflicted on each other were very deep. Both were church-going Christians but neither one wanted to make the first move to reach out. Finally, however, hearing the Word of God softened their hearts; they reconciled and forgave each other.
Sometimes an attitude of cynicism and futility can take over our mind as we brood on our failures and disappointments with our leaders or life-models. We just sit and watch each day go by, like the “nowhere man” in the 1960’s Beatles song:
“He’s a real nowhere man
Sitting in his nowhere land
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody.
“Doesn’t have a point of view
Knows not where he’s going to
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?”
For the Apostle Paul the past and feelings of guilt and regret could have paralyzed him into inaction. Paul relentlessly persecuted the followers of Jesus. His life-goal was to weed them out and prevent their beliefs from spreading.
But Christ confronted him on the road to Damascus and he became a believer himself. Redeemed by Christ Paul let go of his past and dedicated himself to preaching the Gospel, straining hard to reach the goal of joining His Savior in heaven.
God has a plan for each one of us. God desires that we be ambassadors of the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection to people in our sphere of influence. (2 Cor. 5:20).
Regardless of our situation in life God can use us for God’s plan of salvation. If we cannot preach like Paul we can be like:
- the boy who offered his lunch of two fish and five loaves of bread to Jesus which He used to feed more than 5,000 people (Jn.6:9);
- old Simeon who, upon seeing the infant Jesus proclaimed his “Nunc Dimittis,” now sung by millions of Christians all over the world every Sunday (Lk. 2:25 ff);
- the poor widow whose humble offering of her last coins was praised by Jesus for her love for the Lord (Lk. 21:2);
- the young servant girl who became instrumental in the healing from leprosy and coming to faith of the Gentile military officer Naaman (2 Kings 5).
Today focus your eyes on Jesus and His Word. Let Him show you the purpose He has for your life.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise and thank You for Your love for me. Lead me, Lord and show me the role you want for me in Your Kingdom. Amen. Reflection: What “two fish and five loaves of bread” can you offer to Jesu