It is time to give up my bigger aspirations, I think. I have just been reading a post on leadership on Michael Hyatt’s blog, and felt as if I was ‘reading it from the outside’, as if I was peering in a shop window. For a long time, perhaps since I was a boy, I had always assumed that I was destined for greatness. I suspect that I am not alone in this. It is not far from the odd character who pops up every now and again who knows when they are going to die – just a sneaky premonition that you will one day rule the world.
But I am pretty sure I would make a bad mess of it. It would not even take a meticulous biographer or historian’s research to chart where I failed. It wouldn’t be that mysterious. I’m simply not up to it.
Having said that, I am getting to be more content with who I am. Paul said he has learnt in every situation to be content – not quite sure I am there yet, to be honest. But I know that God has put the obstacles, and the enemies, and my own faults, there so that I can ultimately have a stronger foundation.
Life is not about life. Living is not about the here and now, it is about the next and later. What happens now determines what happens later. If I were a builder (which would be a tragedy on a smaller scale than being a world leader, but a tragedy nonetheless!) I suspect I would always be tempted to rush the foundations. You can’t see ’em, they get expensive if you dig too deep, if you need too much concrete, if you have to remove too many things in the wrong place in the ground. Being not all that keen on hard labour, I might even be tempted to not make them particularly big.
This is where God steps in as the Master Builder. He has a blueprint for the building of my life – only I haven’t seen it. Ever. But it’s gonna be a pretty special building. And how do I know?
It’s taking the whole of my life. Just to build the foundations. The same with your life. God is constantly tweaking, mining, cutting through, filling. Subterranean work. Unseen work. No one can really tell that it’s going on. Except for the fact that it’s really messy, noisy, an inconvenience, and all the neighbours cannot stand it.
The thing is, when I read Colossians 3, and it tells me to fix my eyes on things above, not on earthly things, it helps me to realise that what God is building is going to be awesome. If I had started out, perhaps in my early twenties, with some astonishing life-work that commanded the attention of millions, the chances are that I should not have sustained it my whole life through, but have collapsed and burnt at some point, and years later, someone might have asked: ‘Whatever happened to Ben Leney? He had everything going for him, and then….’.
God chooses to make something longer and further out of our lives. I won’t see the polish, the glitter and the gleam, until eternity, perhaps. Other people are amazing – I met with some of them this morning, servant-hearted, self-effacing, modest, faithful, peaceful brothers in Christ at a local men’s breakfast. I think that sometimes we see each other’s glorious futures, if not our own. But one day we will see Him as He is, and we will be like Him. That’s the Father’s plan. That’s His blueprint. It’s gonna be awesome, and boy won’t I be glad that God spent this long on getting the foundations just so, because the building has got to last forever.