God's Lifeplan- The 5 S's by Bryan Craig
Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had expended in doing it, and behold, all was vanity and a striving after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun. Ecclesiastes 2:11
I’ve been dealing with death and people toward the end of their lives a lot lately. I’ve seen people of all ages taken quickly, without much warning. Some have had wealth, which had been a big focus of most of their life, yet in their hour of need, it doesn’t seem to provide comfort for the deep yearnings of their hearts. As people face death, they don’t seem too concerned with the balances in their investments. They are much more concerned with the relationships they’ve had on earth. They want to be loved. They want to know their life mattered. They want people to know that they love them. They think about their relationship with God.
King Solomon, who was King David’s son, was granted anything he desired from God, and he asked for wisdom. And God said, since he didn’t ask for riches, He would give him wisdom AND riches. (See 1 Kings 3:4-15) In Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes his thoughts about trying to find meaning in life through pleasure, wealth, projects, adventures, fame, and in his final analysis, he deems “everything meaningless.” That is, everything the world has to offer is meaningless.
Those of us who are Christians, who have given our hearts to Christ and have His Spirit working in us, know this is true. Most of us have discovered that only God can fill the void in our soul that the world has never been able to fill. However, if we are honest, we still try to live by the world system. We still esteem those who have wealth, power, fame. We still long for pleasures, adventures, conquests.
I remember my early thoughts about life as I was leaving college and embarking up on life. This was the Bryan Craig Life Plan:
- Get a college degree
- Get a good job
- Get married
- Have kids
- Get a house
- Get a better job
- Take at least one big vacation every year
- Put my kids through college
- Amass wealth
- Retire early
- Live a life of leisure, pleasure, contentment
It doesn’t sound evil or irresponsible, but over time, I’ve learned that though this seems like the American Dream, those that have been able to achieve a life like this still feel like something’s missing. King Solomon had all of this and MORE, and he says it is like a “striving after the wind”…these are things that can never really satisfy what we are really looking for.
Years ago, I visited a woman, Fay, at the hospital. She was a good Christian woman who had spent most of her latter years taking care of a sick husband. But she was private and not so gracious, very guarded. As I saw her at the end of her life, it was sad to see one bouquet of flowers by her bedside and not many visitors showing up. But right next to her was a roommate, Jenny. She, too, was at the end of her life, but I noticed at least 15 bouquets of flowers, many Get Well cards and several pictures drawn by children all over her room. She was friendly, vivacious, and I noticed her ministering to Fay, trying to encourage her. And I saw her witnessing to the nurses. I could tell that she had spent her life pouring into others, truly living a life of love. And I saw the fruit of it.
Oh, that the Lord would help me live my life in a way that honors Him, one that is full of love to others and that fills my soul with what it needs. As I’ve thought about this and sought the Lord on it, I’ve come up with a new Life Plan. It consists of 5 S’s:
- Surrender- I want to live my life with personal abandonment and absolute trust. I want to die to my own self-interest and my own dreams. He must increase. I must decrease. My life is not my own. I was bought at a price.
- Seek- I want to seek Him daily with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. I want to seek Him in His Word, in Prayer, in Worship, in community with others. He is my North Star, my Center, my all in all. (Acts 17:24-27)
- Sacrifice- I want to offer my body as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, so that I will know His will for my life, his good, pleasing and perfect will. (Romans 12:1-2). It’s not about accumulating wealth and possessions. I give it all to Him.
- Suffering- I do not want to be afraid of suffering because in order to share in Christ’s glory, we must share in His suffering (Romans 8:17). I know that Discipline, Pruning, Sifting all hurt but they are for my own good. I can see that the pain I’ve endured in my life has helped me bear more lasting fruit for God’s plans and kingdom. And I know He will never leave me nor forsake me in the midst of it.
- Service- I want to Love God and Love Others. I want to give my life away, as I consider others better than myself. I want to be faithful and use my Spiritual gifts for His glory and purpose. I want to be a servant leader.
I can tell you that I know this kind of life is possible because it has been modeled before my eyes. I’m thankful for Don, Dean, Winnie, Gorden, Tom, Gary, Bob, Shirley, Carol, just to name a few.
So as you plan your life and your end of life, there’s nothing wrong with doing estate planning and such, but I do think that more important than thinking about how to FUND your life, you may want to ask God how to LIVE your life.