Gaining this moment's Christ

---By Diane Jen, 2021/05/09

In September 2020, I quit my job.

I didn't have another job lined up. Some may say that was an unwise or irresponsible decision.

But, once I quit my job, suddenly, I had time, I was rested, I had mental energy. And with that, I was able to spend more time with the Lord. I was open for the Lord to use any time of the day. So, I took some of the Bible school classes, I scheduled more one on one calls with brothers and sisters to pray with them or read the bible with them, and I continued to invest in my church life.

Without even realizing it, the Lord started to give life. Every week, the Lord felt closer, sweeter. I was excited that He was speaking and inspiring me, my companions and the saints around me! I thought, wow, God is so good! I enjoyed my break from work so much, I didn't apply for jobs for weeks at a time! But in my mind, I was also mad at myself for not applying to more jobs! So irresponsible! I was still very internally focused on the fact that I needed to find a job.

Eventually, I got one. It's a great job! When I got the official call from my future boss, I was ecstatic! Great news. My first goal of the last 4 months has been achieved.

During this time, some of us were taking the Ruth class given by Antipas. In the story, Naomi, Ruth's mother in law, and her husband and 2 sons, decide to go to Moab for a sojourn, a temporary stay. In the Bible, Moab is a place that was far from God. This family thought to stay only for a little while, but ended up staying there for 10 years. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, which here represents the church life, she wanted to change her name from Naomi, which means pleasant, to Mara, which means bitterness. Why was she bitter? She left because of a famine! That's pretty reasonable. My own famine was my unemployment - it is reasonable to run to Moab isn't it, just for sojourn? But those 10 years for Naomi were lost. The time that she could have been for the Lord, the things the Lord had planned for her, she didn't have the chance to gain anymore. I realized: I can only gain this moment's Christ. Once it passes, it's gone.

Suddenly, I was afraid. You would think, why is it time to be afraid? You just got a job! Success! I have an income again! In Genesis 15, after Abraham won a great battle, God came to him and said "Fear not!". Why? He just won a war? Maybe... it was a fear of not growing in the Lord more than he already had. Maybe he was afraid the Lord would not be able to bring him higher.

I got the job, and I was afraid.

I thought, well, I am ambitious, I want to work a lot, I want to get a promotion quickly, which I did at my last job. Even during the interview, my future teammate asked, "Just to be sure, are you okay with working while you're on vacation? Weekends? This job is not a 9 to 5."

But the Lord spoke to me, what about me? I did not want to pass on gaining each moment's Christ, like Naomi. I did not want to be satisfied with where I am at, like Abraham. I cried to the Lord. I felt sad and afraid. I was thinking, that's, 50-60 hours a week, gone. I told the Lord: I do not want to lose any opportunity to gain You. I don't want to sacrifice time spent with the young people, to devote less time to pray for them with my companions, to spend less time in the Bible, to prepare less for our church meetings with the service teams. I did not want less of Christ.

Now, I am working at my new job. The Lord has been working on me, working on my ambition, on where I put my faith, do I trust in Him or in my money? Or in my capabilities? But I can say, even working a new, busy, full-time job, I spend even more time with the saints (about 4-6 nights a week, sometimes 20+ hours involved). The Lord showed me how I should care for even more people, to raise the young people up and to support my companions even more, like Lucy, Sarah and Estelle, to learn from older ones like Antipas. Right now, I am in a season of life where I want to choose to labor, to put in the work and the time (to sow and to reap, to go to the threshing floor) to gain this moment's Christ. It is not always easy. Sometimes, the Lord will even change who we think we are. I thought I was an ambitious professional! Do I let the Lord shape me in this way?

The world tells me to put success first, to put my self-care first, my happiness, or to put my work, my family, or my new marriage first. But the Lord tells us to put Him first. And if we are really with him in our serving, and it's coming from Him, I trust that He will provide the energy to run after Him. I may be humanly tired, but spiritually energized. The Lord is still working on me! How blessed that is.

A few weeks ago, Lolita, who is in her 80s, prayed that the Lord would forgive the shallowness in her heart. And that after decades of being faithful to the Lord in the church life, in spite of difficulties, her goal is to go deeper with the Lord with the saints. This is a great pattern to me. This fear of not being elevated is one that we should have, young and old. Oh Lord Jesus, bring us higher.

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     ●  Acts
     ●  Gospel of John
     ●  Gospel of Luke
     ●  Life of Abraham
     ●  Book of Nehemiah
     ●  Bible Homework (CK Jen)
     ●  Bible Homework (Antipas
           Desai)