For centuries the country of Portugal proudly proclaimed the motto “Nothing More Beyond.” This was back when European sailors believed that the world was flat and had an edge over which a ship would plummet into a black hole. Terrifying monsters purportedly lived at the world’s edge, and the waters off the shores of Sagres, Portugal were thought to be filled with these monsters. Eventually, of course, brave sailors proved Portugal’s motto to be an incorrect assumption, and at that time the country’s motto was changed to “More Beyond.”
Christian, have you walked with the Lord enough yet to have learned not to make long-range assumptions about His will for your life? Abraham (Abram, as he was then known) probably thought that he would live his entire life in the city of Ur. That certainly didn’t play out like he figured, did it? Likewise, Moses probably thought that he would live out his days in Egypt. Then he killed an Egyptian, had to flee from Egypt, found himself in Midian, got married, fathered children, and made a home in Midian. Scripture indicates that he planned to spend the rest of his life there in Midian, but that didn’t happen, either. Gideon surely didn’t see himself becoming a great leader of Israel, but that didn’t stop God from raising him up to be a Judge over Israel. Peter, Andrew, James, and John no doubt assumed they would all spend the rest of their lives working as fishermen on the Sea of Galilee. Then along came Jesus and, well, we know how that ended.
The fact is, the Bible provides us with scores of examples wherein individuals have their lives thrown into a totally different spin cycle at God’s bidding. A shepherd boy named David becomes a king. A sheep breeder named Amos becomes a prophet. A tax collector named Levi becomes an apostle named Matthew. A rabbinical student named Saul becomes an apostle named Paul. On and on the examples go. It seems that God hates few things like He hates people becoming stationary, complacent, and (dare I say it?) comfortable. Why is He like that? Surely it’s because He knows that when we become stationary, complacent, and comfortable we also become much less impressed by how much we need Him.
It is with all this in mind that I warn you against assuming that the Lord has no more surprises in store for you. Remember that Jesus called Himself “the good Shepherd” (John 10:11). And what do shepherds do? They lead. And what do sheep do when shepherds lead? They follow. Sheep following their shepherd, that’s how the likes of Abraham, Moses, David, Amos, Matthew, and Paul became the likes of Abraham, Moses, David, Amos, Matthew, and Paul.
I don’t know who first uttered that line, “If you want to make the Lord laugh tell Him your future plans,” but I guarantee you that Peter, Andrew, James, John, and a whole host of other Bible characters would say, “Amen” to it. God isn’t a stationary God. He is active, engaged, and on the move, and He doesn’t mind calling us to be active, engaged, and on the move with Him. You ask, “But where will He take me?” Honestly, I don’t know. But what I do know is that Psalm 23 only uses the word “leads” twice. In verse 2, David says the Lord leads us to still waters, and in verse 3 he says the Lord leads us in the paths of righteousness. Both of those descriptions sound pretty good, don’t they? So, anytime you feel that the Lord is leading you somewhere, don’t be afraid to follow Him. And anytime you think that you’ve got your life neatly planned, organized, categorized, and destined, don’t be surprised if the Shepherd says to you, “Nope, that’s your plan, not mine. Instead of doing that, I want you to……”