It has probably been suggested to you at some point that you should imagine the end of your life, attending your own funeral. In most cases, the reason likely involves some sort of goal setting or life planning process. I am going to make the same suggestion today, but for a very different reason. Have you witnessed your own death?
In order to put this whole idea into perspective, let’s take a look at a couple of passages from the Bible:
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Now, after reading these passages, what are your thoughts?
For most of us, these verses are familiar…probably too familiar. What I mean is that we read them and agree with them on the surface. But do we actually live them out?
Are these verses representative of our lives today?
Another Kind of Death
Have you experienced a death of self?
Does this death include your desires and motives? If someone were to take an objective look at your life – family, personal, business, etc. – would they see a point at which you died to self and began living for Jesus? Would there be clear and incontrovertible evidence of the death of your selfish desires, motives, and ambitions?
As I consider the typical business leader in this world, his desires are for growth, profit, fame, and power in and through his business. We don’t even have to take these desires to an ugly extreme. Just imagine the average business leader who is without faith in Jesus Christ. What does he seek on a daily basis?
Now, take a look at your business and your desires in and through that business. What is different? Is there evidence that your motives are distinctly different from the typical business owner or leader? Is there a point in time when your desires and motivations changed from typical to exceptional?
Where are your motives now? Do you see your business as a tool to be used by God for His purposes? Do you see your employees, customers, vendors, etc. as opportunities for ministry? Do you look at growth in revenue and profit as necessary for growth in eternal impact?
As I look back over my business career, I can say without reservation that the evidence is there of a dramatic change in motives and desires. At the same time, if I graphed those desires, I would notice times when they drifted back to the selfish range. Have you experienced that?
I think the bottom line is this. If we are truly disciples of Jesus, then we should have desires and motives that reflect a death to self. We should instead be seeking His purposes in ALL areas of our lives – including in and through our businesses!
We are also to remain diligent not to allow those selfish desires and motives to creep back in from time to time. By remaining in Jesus on a daily, moment-by-moment basis, we should keep our hearts closer to Him and avoid the creep that is so natural.
I encourage you to stop and reflect back on your life to the point at which you had a funeral for yourself. Examine the evidence for the change and determine what actions you need to take now. I promise this exercise is worth it.
Just remember three things! Jesus commanded us to die to self daily. We should obey! Others are watching our lives to see if we are living out what we profess. We should be an example to them! We are promised a reward for our eternal treasures. We should invest there!
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