. . . when I was in my early twenties and a student a Trinity College, my professor, Dr. Gilbert Bilezikian delivered lessons that inspired me, convicted me, and compelled me to action. To a group of us who were leading a high school ministry at the time, Dr. B said, "Throughout the course of your life, you're gonna give yourself to something. You will. All people do. They give their lives to pleasure or possessions, to the attainment of popularity or to the acquisition of more power. But always to something."
As he plowed ahead, I got sidelined by my own questions. What was I giving my life to? What was the one great something I was living for? I began to wonder whether I was really as concerned about other people as I said I was or was I just hiding my self-interest behind a facade of interest. My heart shuddered as I stared at the truth of what captivated most of my thoughts. It wasn't exactly laudable.
During that season of life, I had been anticipating a lucrative career in business. But as Dr. B's words crept deeper into my heart, I was suddenly and powerfully drawn to one prevailing preoccupation - people. People who face a Christless eternity. People who are ostracized and isolated and hopeless. People who are living for achievements that do not fulfill, accolades that never satisfy, and money that doesn't bring genuine happiness.
I wanted to approach life like Jesus had. The mind of Christ hadn't been consumed by business gains or money or fame but instead was endlessly focused on one thing: people - those who were lost and found, young and old, rich and poor, sought-after and rejected. Never had anyone displayed such a prodigious obsession with people as did Jesus. And in his customary straightforward style, Dr. B reminded me that Jesus' expectation that his followers share this magnificent obsession.
"True followers of Christ who really get it right," he said, "give themselves to people. Most importantly, they give themselves to pointing people to faith in Christ. That is the highest and best use of a human life - to have it serve as a signpost that points people toward God." Dr. B summed up my entire belief system with a brilliant flash of insight: if you really believe in the redeeming and transforming power of God's presence in a person's life, then the single greatest gift you can give someone is an explanation of how to be rightly connected to him.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
What Really Matters
In his book, Just Walk Across the Room, Bill Hybels writes: