“What on earth are you doing?” While usually uttered in shock or disgust, that is actually a fairly profound question for a believer! What, in your brief time here on earth, are you doing? To what purpose are you investing the finite amount of time God gives in this life?
The answer is rather disappointing, at least by observation of the average professed Christian today. We tend to be materialistic (“he who dies with the most toys wins”), self-gratifying (sports, hobbies, sex or other sensual gratification), or some manner of drift without purpose or plan, just existentially rudderless. It is not hard to check oneself, just listen for how often you say you have no time for important things, while ready to jump at the chance to pursue the above priorities.
God’s Word warns …
“All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord remains forever.” (1 Pet. 1:24-25a)
We are temporary and transient, but we have a stewardship of something inherently eternal. What on earth are we doing with it?
On the one hand, the flesh is not irrelevant, it is part of the person God redeems. Pleasures are not automatically evil or corrupting. God has given us many things in life to be enjoyed (1 Tim. 6:17). How on earth do we bring the transitory and the eternal together?
First, by being committed to the intake of the Word of God. This comes by investment in personal time with the Word (study, meditation) and corporate time in instruction and worship. These two together are not going to occupy massive amounts of time, but cannot be relegated to optional status by other commitments. 10-30 minutes daily and a couple hours on Sunday spent in focus on the eternal should not be begrudged as excessive! Instead, it should be essential in the mind of the believer.
Closely aligned with intake of the Word is application of the Word. Without diligently applying Scripture, we deceive ourselves about our true condition (James 1:22). This is the second step in discerning what on earth we are doing.
What has changed lately because of your exposure to the Word? This should be an ongoing experience and discipline: changing in thought, purpose, intent or action because the Holy Spirit has guided application of the Word of God. Without that, we end up doing little or nothing of eternal consequence!
Intake and application should lead to transmission of the Word. Every believer needs an outlet in which they are passing along the truth and actions developed by the Word. We ought to be actively looking for these opportunities, not backing into them because “they couldn’t find anyone else.” We were never meant to be buckets for the truth—we are meant to be conduits or channels for it to reach farther out.
Sometimes people will come to me with a question about the Word of God and start out with an apologetic tone as if they are disturbing me. Nothing could be further from the truth— those are the opportunities I live for! It is all the questions about trivialities of ministry operation and rules which suck the life out of ministry.
In the end, everything else in life becomes a carrier for these in the life of one who is living now for what will matter forever. Sports, hobbies, work, pleasures become subservient to ministering the Word. They are opportunities to share because we know what on earth we are doing—developing fully functioning disciples who will disciple others.
“… what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.” (2 Timothy 2:2)