There are people who desire to live a meaningful life, to make an impact in their generation, to bring about lasting changes in certain areas of society. Many want to make an extraordinary mark with their lives. But these same people also desire easy lives where there are little or no challenges, hardships or difficulty. They want to walk on an easy path to greatness.
But there is no such thing as an easy path to true greatness. It is a myth. In Matthew 7:13-14, Jesus explained to his disciples that in life there are two paths. The first is the easy path which is wide, broad and crowded with multitudes of people. Although this path leads to destruction, many people choose it because it is the easy way. The second path is narrow, very difficult, leads to the kingdom and there are very few people on it. Jesus said that very few people will choose to walk on the second path because it is difficult. But the mystery of the narrow path is that everything you desire will be given to you and even more. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, that if we seek first the kingdom, if we surrender our lives to Him in total obedience and walk on the narrow path, all other things would be added to us. Jesus promised earthly and eternal rewards to those who would commit their lives to him to walk on the narrow path. Read Luke 18:28-30. What He told His disciples back then applies to us today.
Anyone who has made an impact in the kingdom never walked an easy path. The path of the kingdom is a difficult one. If you want to live an easy life you should consider the possibility that you may never amount to anything significant in the kingdom. Don’t get me wrong. You may live in nice houses, drive nice cars and make lots of money, but you will never be among the people who make great things happen in and for the kingdom.
One of the most amazing women who walked this planet was Mary Slessor. She came to Nigeria in 1876 at the age of 28 as a missionary from Scotland and settled in Calabar, in the Southern part of Nigeria. At that time in history twins were either killed or thrown into the forest and left to die or be killed by wild animals because they were considered evil. When Mary Slessor saw this wicked practice, something moved in her heart and she made it her singular purpose in life to put an end to it.
Her journey wasn’t easy. She had to fight against the established native system controlled by rulers who believed in and entrenched that barbaric practice. She began by rescuing twins thrown into the forest and left to die. The natives watched to see what would happen to the rescued babies and were shocked to discover that those children grew up healthy and lived just fine like other children. Next, Mary Slessor began a campaign to ban the killing of twins. She fought and campaigned for decades and eventually she won the battle and the killing of twins was outlawed.
But she didn’t walk an easy path.
Mary Slessor was never married, she died single. She never raised her own children, the abandoned twins she rescued from the evil forests became her children. She never had the luxury of coming home to her own husband and children and taking care of them as a wife and mother. Mary Slessor was never rich. She never owned big houses, neither did she have a thriving business in the best part of town. But what she did with her life changed the destiny of an entire region. What she did impacted the lives of thousands, perhaps millions of people. She was not rich but she made an impact in her generation. Over a hundred years later people can still see the impact of her contribution in Nigeria. This is true kingdom greatness. And such greatness came by walking the narrow and difficult path.
Some pastors manipulate and seduce their congregations with the lies of an easy life. They preach a message of prosperity and ease. They tell their congregations that God desires us to be rich, to live lives of ease and abundance. They preach that if you stay in their church, give to their ministry, obey their every command without question like a mindless slave, God will reward you with great riches. But it is all a lie. That is nothing but cleverly crafted deception.
The purpose for following Christ is not to become rich but to be conformed to His image and then to accomplish your assignment in the kingdom. Not everyone has to be rich to fulfil their calling. Mary Slessor didn’t need to be rich to make an impact in her generation. God will give each and every one of us the necessary grace and resources we require to fulfil His plan for our lives. But many people in an attempt to become rich have completely abandoned God’s plan for their lives. Paul in 1Timothy6 said that they have “pierced themselves with many sorrows.” The pursuit of money and material things has become their greatest pre-occupation and they call this success. If money becomes the reason you live, it has become your god, and you sadly have become its slave and you are completely lost.
The bible says in Luke 12:15, ‘take heed and beware of covetousness for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.’ What this means is that the true meaning of your life has nothing to do with money. It has to do with God’s plan or purpose for your life, no matter what it may be. If the purpose of life is all about having money then a man like Moses should never have left Egypt because he had all the riches his heart desired.
But Moses demonstrated that a man’s life is not defined by money. He was raised in the midst of wealth, raised as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter and raised as a prince of Egypt. But one day something moved in his heart to make him question the meaning of his existence, to make him start thinking that there was more to the mystery of his life than being a prince and having riches. He became restless and extremely dissatisfied with the privileged life he lived. He eventually gave it all up to pursue his calling.
The bible says in Hebrews 11:24-27 that when Moses became mature he refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He rejected the privileges of royalty, forsook Egypt and chose the path of his calling. It wasn’t going to be an easy path for him. He left the easy life and headed in the opposite direction searching for something deeper, something more meaningful than what he had. He knew that the riches of Egypt were an illusion. He knew that it was only Christ who had and could give him true and lasting riches. He knew that God had something far better for him than what the palaces of Egypt had to offer. And he was right.
After discovering the truth about himself, he could no longer live comfortably in Egypt. He realised that Egypt represented everything God didn’t want him to do with his life. Although Egypt offered him riches, it couldn’t lead him to the fulfilment of God’s plan for his life. I don’t know for how long Moses wrestled with these thoughts that plagued his heart but one day he stood up and tried to do something about his calling and it led him to flee from Egypt. He ended up in the wilderness where he lived for forty years until he had a supernatural encounter with God and was commanded to return to Egypt to deliver Israel from slavery.
Moses did not walk an easy path and neither will anyone else who desires to be used by The Lord to make an impact in his or her generation. There will be tough decisions to make. There will be great opportunities to turn down. There will be open doors to deliberately ignore and turn away from. There will be bridges to burn, relationships to end, places to depart from and never return. It is not going to be an easy path. You may have to give up your business, give up a lucrative career, give up a job and even some of you may give up your ministry, shut down the church you founded or hand it over to someone else to pastor because it is not God’s will for your life.
You may be hiding behind a lucrative job, earning lots of money, and running away from God’s calling on your life which may be to work with orphans in regions of Thailand, South Sudan, Chile or Russia. You may also be hiding behind a pulpit thinking that because ‘you are a preacher’ your life pleases the Lord. But that is self-deception. The Lord may not want you to be a preacher at all. He may want you to lecture in a university, be a research scientist, be an inventor, be in business, be a farmer, be an artist or be a hundred other things. Contrary to what some ignorant preachers say, the highest calling in life is not to be a preacher, it is to do whatever the Lord wants you to do for Him and His kingdom. You have to deny yourself and give up your own plans, dream, desires and agenda in total surrender to the Lord if you want to do God’s will and fulfil your calling. Read Luke 9:23, Luke 14:26-33. Nothing worth having in the kingdom will be given to you easy. You must press into it in the place of prayer. It is those who press in the place of prayer that receive the grace to walk in the narrow path.
Recently I was praying with a pastor and his wife privately. At some point during the prayer, I apologised to him for what I was about to tell him because it didn’t look ‘good’ and I didn’t want to be the ‘carrier of bad news.’ I said “Forgive me for what I am about to tell you but I don’t see you in this church at all. The Lord showed me this church but you are not here as pastor.” This was strange but I had to tell him what The Lord revealed to me. The pastor later confessed to me that ‘he was not a pastor.’ He was an evangelist but was pastor of the church perhaps because it was an easier life than organising crusades. Being a pastor guaranteed a regular income and a comfortable life for him and his family which he wasn’t about to give up. He wanted an easy life but that wasn’t God’s plan for him.
You may be involved in a company, ministry, project or business that bring you a lot of money. You may go to church and your pastor tells you that God is ‘pleased with you’ because you have lots of money and material things, but nothing could be further from the truth. Having money is not the mark of a spiritual person. Chronic sinners also make money but that doesn’t make them spiritual in any way. That company you work for, that ministry you lead, that business you run, that career you are pursuing, if it is not God’s will and purpose for your life, you are on a path of self destruction even though you’ve surrounded yourself with material things. Don’t be like the fool in Luke 12:15-21 who thought that life was about accumulating material things and living with ease, but was rebuked by the Lord for his foolishness. Ask The Lord to reveal His will to you. When The Lord guides you, He will grant you the grace, wisdom, inner strength and the resources you require to fulfil your kingdom calling and assignment as you walk on the narrow path.