Friday, February 24, 2012

The Right Stuff

I knew a guy, long ago, who we’ll call Rick. Rick was a handsome, successful, single Christian man. Therefore, every young, single Christian woman in the area had a keen interest in becoming Mrs. Rick. There was a series of courtships, all ended very suddenly by Rick, all resulting in broken hearts. So one day, one of Rick’s friends sat down to ask him why this kept happening. Rick informed his friend that he had compiled a list of the spiritual, emotional and physical attributes he was looking for in a woman. If he dated a woman and came to realize that she fell short of one of his standards, it was only logical to break off the relationship at that point. After some coaxing, the friend persuaded Rick to show him the actual list. He read through each criterion, then said, as only a male friend can say to another male: “If you ever actually found this woman, what makes you think she’d want you?”

All of us know the pain of finding out we don’t meet someone else’s standards. For some it’s missing out on a job, a school, a scholarship or a promotion, or being told by this person you’ve fallen in love with, this person you thought was “the one,” that they no longer feel that way about you. For others, it’s a memory of trying out for a team, or auditioning for a play, or entering a big contest, and falling short. I know that it seems like there are people who are just born with that unique set of physical characteristics and financial advantages and special skills and good connections that lead to them always being “on the list.” The bad news is that there is nothing I can say that will make you one of those people. The good news is that those people are going to get old and die someday just like you and me! But the really good news is this: God has a plan for your life; it’s a plan to accomplish amazing, eternally significant things. God’s plan is so much bigger and better than making that team, getting that job, or keeping that boyfriend. And the set of characteristics we need in order to accomplish His unique plan have nothing to do with the way you look, how much money you have, or the mistakes of your past.

The myth that our world tries to sell us is that we can be anything we want to be, if we just put our minds to it. Not true. But the far greater truth is that we can accomplish everything God has planned for us. And the attributes it takes to make sure we follow God’s plan are things we’re not born with; we can acquire them if we want them badly enough. This Sunday at Westbury Baptist Church, we'll look at the story of two men who had The Right Stuff, and how God used them, found in Numbers 14. It’s also a story about what happens when a family or a church or (in this case) a nation chooses the easy way instead of God’s way. It is the story of a pivotal day in the life of Israel.

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