September 30, 2016 • Life for Leaders
A Note from Mark Roberts:
In the course of my leadership of the De Pree Center, I’ve literally met hundreds of fascinating people, mainly those who work in the marketplace. Roy Goble ranks as one the most interesting people I’ve met. From his upbringing at work in his father’s junkyard, Roy built a flourishing real estate business. Yet, not satisfied with material success, Roy sought to discover how to live fully as Christ’s disciple in a world of need and opportunity. Today, he combines business with non-profit leadership. He is the founder of PathLight International, an organization committed to social transformation in Belize through education. Roy is also a gifted and clever writer. His first book, Junkyard Wisdom, has just been published and is available at Amazon. Thanks, Roy, for your contributions to Life for Leaders.
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.
I’ll never forget one beautiful sunny day in the Bay Area when I was driving down the highway without a care in the world. Sure, I had things to do and take care of, but it was all normal stuff, stuff in my wheelhouse, and it didn’t concern me at all. Everything in life was just clicking. My real estate company was humming along, the kids were happy, my wife D’Aun was happy. We enjoyed our church. We enjoyed our friends and our hobbies. There were no major worries in my life. Everything was good. I didn’t even have to be anywhere by a certain time. My thoughts began to wander.
I’m so blessed! I’m relaxed, comfortable, happy, content…
The road kept rolling past. And then I thought something else. Life is so good, it’s almost like I don’t even need God.
Instantly it felt like my soul was being squeezed by a terrible fist. Like I couldn’t breathe. My heart rate shot through the roof. Right away I pulled over onto the shoulder and braked to a stop. Cars zipped past. I gripped the steering wheel tightly with both hands, motionless, because all the drama was happening inside of my heart.
What on earth was I thinking? I was a follower of Jesus. I loved Jesus. So of course I needed God.
Yet there it was inside me: the ugly truth that I was content without God.
Was I simply being prideful? Selfish? Stupid? It wouldn’t be the first time in my life. That wasn’t what was causing fear to make my heart palpitate, though. What really scared me was that my conclusion just made good sense. I was enjoying my comfort and security…and that meant I was enjoying a life without much room for God. We like to say that God can use anyone. That’s true — but it helps if we’re not completely self-sufficient and satisfied without him.
It’s like a friend once said to me, “You know, you can make yourself need God more.”
I don’t know about you, but that’s one of the most uncomfortable sentences I can imagine. As soon as we hear it, we know in our hearts it is true. We can make ourselves need God more. The list of ways is endless. We need God whenever we do something that requires his Spirit to help us.
Like loving someone hard to love. Or being joyful in the midst of trials. Or working for peace in the midst of conflict.
That’s why love, joy, peace and all the rest are the fruit of God’s Spirit, not our own comfort. For those things to be present in our lives, we need God to be present in our lives.
And God needs room to work.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Have you ever felt like your life was “clicking” so well that you no longer needed God?
What barriers can our plans for comfort and security put in the way of truly following Jesus?
If you want to need God more, what is one Fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) you can ask for help to produce?
Pray through the following scripture and ask God for guidance and wisdom as you wrestle with these issues:
Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil. If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them (James 4:13-17).
Portions of this series were adapted from Roy’s book Junkyard Wisdom: Resisting the Whisper of Wealth in a World of Broken Parts. You can connect with Roy at www.junkyardwisdombook.com.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online Bible commentary: Business Forecasting (James 4:13–17)
Roy Goble grew up working in his father’s junkyard, where he learned to take apart absolutely anything and to evaluate everything for the value of its parts. After studying economics and business at Westmont College, and marrying his high school sweetheart, D’Aun, he joined his family’s growing real estate business. As the business flourished, he experienced the complexity of creating wealth while following Jesus. He began to wrestle with what he knew about business and what Jesus was calling him to be and do, beginning a decades-long quest for a way to understand his place in God’s kingdom and in a global society.
Click here to view Roy’s profile.