How many of you have gone to a high school reunion? How was that for you? I have never been to one. I graduated from high school in 1983, so I’m coming up on 40 years. Since I have been a traveling vagabond in ministry, I haven’t really stayed connected with high school friends, until Facebook came along.
One of my favorite movies from the 90’s is Grosse Point Blank starring John Cusak and Minnie Driver. It’s a dark comedy about a hit man that goes back to his hometown for a high school reunion, but his main purpose in going back is to reconnect with his high school sweetheart that he abandoned on prom night. He hasn’t seen her or spoken with her since before that night. He’s hoping for a romantic “new beginning” to the rest of his life.
(The movie is rated R for language and violence, just letting you know in case you wanted to watch it. I’m not promoting the movie. It’s just a good illustration)
During the movie, the hit man Martin Blank (John Cusak) is becoming conflicted about his life and chosen profession. Well, duh, he is a hit man. He checks in regularly with his psychiatrist. This is part of the humor of the movie, “a hit man with a shrink.” He shares with his therapist that he has recurring dreams about his former girlfriend Debbie (Minnie Driver). The shrink shares with Marin that it’s a terrible dream and he is obsessed, maybe not a great thing to say to a hit man. Martin tells the shrink about the reunion and asks if he should go.
Dr. Oatman: “Yes, go see some old friends. Drink some punch, visit with what’s-her-name. Don’t kill anybody for a few days; see what it feels like.”
Martin Blank: “I’ll give it a shot.”
Dr. Oatman: “No, don’t give it a shot! Don’t shoot anything!”
I won’t spoil all of it for you, so I’ll skip to the end. At the end of the movie as Martin and Debbie drive away to start a new life, Debbie narrates the following: “Everybody’s coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone. People say forgive and forget. Yeah, I don’t know. I say forget about forgiving and just accept. And get the heck out of town.”
All of us at various times take “stock” of our lives. We wonder about our meaning, purpose, and significance. Are we satisfied and content with our station in life? Have we fulfilled our life long ambitions and dreams? What has our labor produced? Have our efforts rewarded us financially, relationally, emotionally, spiritually, and so on?
Self-evaluation is a good thing. We need to ask questions about where we’ve been, where we are, and where we are going. We need that to grow and mature, but taking stock can be tricky. If we spend too much time on our past failures or how out of control our lives are, we can get stuck. We can’t move forward. Moving forward, growing, and maturing are essential to a fulfilling life; and our calling as followers of Christ.
“Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 NIV
Even if you’re not a Christian, you want to live a better life, to be a better person. You want to be well thought of, not just for notoriety, but also for your own well-being. How many times have you heard someone say, “Well, I just couldn’t live with myself if I did that.” Whether we like it or not, we have to “live” with ourselves.
The Apostle Paul reveals his inner struggle in Romans 7:14-24, take a look. Paul talks about the war within.
“For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?” Romans 7:22-24 NIV
It’s nice to know that one of the most prominent followers of Christ in history hasn’t got it all together either. But, what we learn from Paul is that he is not content to be in this condition. He wants to move forward, “forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead.”
This “straining towards what is ahead” never ends until the prize is won. We want that “great heavenly reward”. We want to hear Jesus say, “well done my good and faithful servant.” It doesn’t matter how old we are, whether we’re just getting started or getting close to the end. Retirement from following Christ ends when we are with Him, not on this earth. We have to keep pressing on.
Sometimes we may feel like our lives are out of control, and that we can never get it back on track. So, now more than ever, we need a fresh start. We can keep doing what we’ve always done. Choose what we want now over what we want most. But, there’s a Greater Reward waiting for us. We need to discover how we can let go of the status quo and stay focused on who God says we are and what He wants for our lives. We’re not done yet!
Key Bible Verse for the week: Romans 7:15, 19, 24-25, Galatians 5:16; Galatians 5:22-23
- When you hear the word “discipline,” what’s the first thing that comes to mind?
- Have you ever tried to become more disciplined by using willpower alone? What was that experience like?
- Think about a habit you’ve started or stopped in the past. How did your perception of your identity influence your outcome?
- When we find our identity in Jesus, His power enables us to overcome our wrong desires. What are some ways you can find your identity in Jesus?
- What’s one area of your life where you feel out of control? What’s one thing you’ll do about it?
- What’s one way you could get closer to Jesus and find the self-control He offers?
- This study is not about “prosperity gospel”. Wealth and prosperity are not always God’s will for our lives, so what is our “greater reward” for following Christ?
Start the Greater Reward Bible Plan using Plans With Friends: www.go2.lc/reward
Join us on ZOOM for Weekly Adult Bible Study on Wednesday’s @ 1pm. Here is your zoom invitation for Wednesday, February 24th. Click the link to join the meeting.
Meeting ID: 748 3885 0499
Director of Family Ministry and Facility Management