December 23, 2010: Luke 1:58-59 Devotion Sharing

Submitted by Steve Kim, Gracepoint Riverside

Luke 1:58-59

Why did the neighbors and relatives want to name the infant Zechariah? Because they wanted to name him after his father.

What does this express about the extent of their vision for what the baby would one day become? This reveals how they just envisioned this baby to be simply the joy and pride of his father and mother.  They did not expect a grander destiny and purpose for his life.  They didn’t suspect at all that he would grow up to be someone who would fulfill God’s prophecy of being a forerunner to the Christ.  God’s vision for this child was clearly different from the expectations of what the “norm” was.  God signals this difference in instructing Zechariah and Elizabeth to name him John, which means “God’s gracious gift”.  And indeed he grew up to be a gracious gift and blessing for many as he prepared their hearts to receive their Messiah, the Savior of the world.

Are there ways in which I allow my background or others’ limited expectations to define the boundaries of what God wants to do in and through my life? In the past I had such a narrow and limited view of my life.  When I first became Christian, I was just desperate to find some peace in myself and in my family.  I just wanted some way to escape the hurts, disappointments and insecurities about my self-worth.  I had little room in my mind and heart to look beyond my own problems, let alone consider God’s grander purpose for my life.  Most of my relatives and family friends would generally commend me to study hard, get into a good school, land a well paying, prestigious career, find a good spouse, have kids and basically live out the “American dream”.

My whole focus and passion in life would’ve been reduced to just my own nuclear family.  It’s an uninspired life that would’ve led me to boredom and a restlessness.  Knowing myself, I think I would’ve gotten into video games or some other form of addictive behavior to pour my passions into.  I would’ve also lived a life that aspires to do nothing more than to have my son carry my name on into his generation, so that I may have the satisfaction of some weak form of transcendence.

And most likely the legacy of an uninspired, bored life would’ve been passed on to my son.

But God had other plans for my life.  It’s a life that has a “God sized” perspective and vision of affecting not just my nuclear family but many other people God considers His sons and daughters.

The life God has handed me is something I lacked the perspective and imagination to even consider.

Thankfully God brought godly “Zechariah like” people in my life to speak God’s words to me.  People like my old youth teachers, the traveling youth evangelist who led me to Christ and the many leaders of our church.  God’s words were not only spoken to me, but also demonstrated powerfully to me.  If it were not for the older ones like Rick Yi and Steve Suh, who graduated a few years ahead of me and stuck around to do college ministry with their peers, I don’t think I would’ve had the inspiration to do the same.  If it were not for Patrick and Jeannie who took on 5 foster kids into their homes even though they had 2 young children of their own, I don’t think my wife and I would’ve had the courage to do the same in taking in 2 foster kids for a year.  If it were not for examples of so many of the older ones in our church like Pastor Ed and Kelly, Chris and Judy, Daemin and Ahmi,  who packed their bags and uprooted themselves to go out to plant churches and serve in foreign mission fields, I don’t think my wife and I would’ve had the boldness and encouragement to obey God’s calling for us to move down from the Bay Area to Riverside to start up a new church.

Though on my own I lacked the holy imagination, the courage and the faith to do much of what I got to experience in the past 14 years since I graduated from college, God intervened to speak and show me His grander perspective and vision to ‘serve him without fear’ through the faithful witness of many my dear brothers and sisters in Christ.

I’m eternally grateful for the great and marvelous things God has done in me and through me over the years.  He has given me a life that is anything but boring and uninspiring!

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