Graduation day is a day to celebrate! You’ve worked hard, studied, completed the assignments and passed the tests. You’ve earned this moment. The diploma you receive is your wages for hard work and faithfulness; no one can take it away. It is yours forever!
But after the ceremonies are past and the tassels have been turned, the question arises, “Where do you go from here?” The traditional response might be to say, “anywhere – everywhere.” Or things like, “Charge out into the limitless future of possibilities with reckless abandon and laser focus and take on the world! Make your mark, and make it so boldly that it cannot be erased!”
But what if the surest path to success is more fundamental than this? And what if something much more basic should be considered before you take the job, make the move, or launch into the plans that you have made for your future? Here are a few thoughts that get to the heart of what really matters most.
As far as where you should go from here, I don’t believe the physical geography is as important as the geography of the heart. Make God’s will your destination, your focus, and your territory of discovery. Before you take any action or make any decision, no matter how great or small, make the choice to make God’s will the location where you will spend the rest of your life.
In Romans 8:28-30, the Apostle Paul says,
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. 29 For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
His Purpose, His will, is the geography of success that you must discover. And your ticket into this place is being one of the called. The measure of this success is not how much money you make or the kind of house you live in. It is not the tasks you complete or the things you achieve. It is the level of reflection of Jesus Christ that can be seen in your life. You see, being the salt and light of the world is not about accomplishment, it’s about reflection and flavor. It’s not about finding your way onto center stage in some notable profession or noble endeavor, it’s about losing yourself in the reflective pool of His love and grace wherever you go or whatever you do for a living.
Living in success is about thinking like Jesus when faced with the challenging questions of the day. It is about releasing the fragrance of His love when you’re crushed by life’s difficult moments. It’s about celebrating like Jesus when life is good and you have achieved some great goal and want to take a victory lap!
The word purpose in the Greek is πρόθεσις próthesis, proth’-es-is; from G4388; a setting forth, i.e. (figuratively) proposal (intention); specially, the show-bread (in the Temple) as exposed before God:—purpose, shew(-bread).
So the word Prothesis is a setting forth, a proposal. In the Rabbinical sense it refers to the Showbread which was set forth in the Tabernacle, the Holy Sanctuary, specifically as a place of provision and divine awareness for Israel. As all the elements of the Tabernacle and, indeed, the Tabernacle itself tell a story, the showbread told Israel the story of the value of God’s presence and provision. It was illustrative of the fact that the tribes of Israel were ever before the presence of God and that in His presence they were His responsibility to protect and provide for. This is the geography of success, the place of the presence of God where you leave here and live in His responsible provision for the rest of your life, a place He has predetermined for you. A place where you look more like Jesus than you look like yourself.
God has something in mind for everyone, a before-place, a purpose, a proposal. And His purpose is your highest calling! For some, His prosthesis will involve business, some ministry, others medicine, education or any number of other fields of endeavor, but never buy into the lie that there is a difference between ministry leadership and secular leadership. For believers, there is no difference between secular and sacred, all is sacred!
If you will seek God first, then your future becomes God’s to create and shape as a designer of a great sculpture. The force of the Holy Spirit will carve your future with the tools of compassion, forgiveness and love as they flow from the heart of God through the person of Jesus Christ!
As I close, let me draw to your attention the fact that every action statement in this passage is accomplished by God himself and reserved for those who love Him. Your part is to simply love God.
The passage says:
- He predestined you. You’re life is rigged, it’s fixed. God is not making up your life and His purpose for your life as He goes along. Rest in this truth. He has already planned your life. His determination becomes your discovery.
- He called you. You have already made the team. You were made for God’s purpose. It is He that chose you, not the other way around.
- He justified you. You are already spiritually qualified to reflect Jesus in all your endeavors.
- He glorified you. You’ve already won. God has already ordained you to finish the race and determined that your finish line is marked, “The winners circle”.
If you will settle these truths and make it your goal to simply love God, and make His will your address all of your life, your life will arise above and beyond the low levels of mere success, and arise to the lofty heights of significance!