Then the word of the Lord came to me, saying: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” (Jeremiah 1:4, N.K.J.V.)
In the classic movie Field of Dreams, the young baseball player Archie “Moonlight” Graham makes it all the way to the Major Leagues in 1922, but he only gets to play outfield for half an inning at the tail end of his debut game on the last day of the season. He doesn’t even get to make any defensive plays in the outfield or get to bat. Sensing that his team will demote him to the minor leagues to begin the following season, he retires from baseball rather than spend another season in the lower ranks of the sport. He enrolls in medical school, becomes a doctor, and spends the rest of his life devotedly serving the people of Chisholm, Minnesota as their small town’s doctor.
Fifty years later, Ray Kinsella asks the elderly Graham what it was like to get so close to fulfilling his major league dreams only to miss them by a breath. Graham answers, “It was like coming this close to your dreams, and then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd.” But when Kinsella, as part of the movie’s magical storyline, offers Graham the chance to go back in time and at least get the one professional at-bat he never got, Graham turns down the offer. Incredulous, Kinsella tells him, “Fifty years ago, for five minutes you came within…you came this close. It would kill some men to get so close to their dream and not touch it…they’d consider it a tragedy.” Then comes one of the movie’s best lines as Graham looks at Kinsella and replies, “Son, if I’d only gotten to be a doctor for five minutes, now THAT would have been a tragedy.”
God told Jeremiah that his God-appointed role in life was prophet. God had determined that destiny for him even before He had created him in the womb of his mother. The prophet Isaiah said the same kind of thing about his life’s role when he exclaimed, “The Lord has called me from the womb” (Isaiah 49:1). In the New Testament era, God said of Saul of Tarsus (who would become better known as the apostle Paul), “…he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15).
But what if Jeremiah had refused the call of God into the prophetic ministry? What if Isaiah had spent his life being something other than a prophet? What if Saul (Paul) had said, “I don’t want to bear God’s name before gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel; I’ve studied to be a Jewish rabbi, and I’m going to devote my life to presiding over a local synagogue”? Such choices would have surely been true tragedies.
Let me ask you a very personal question: Are you fulfilling God’s appointed destiny for your life? Like Archie “Moonlight” Graham in that movie, are you living out the right dream? The truth is that God has all kinds of work that needs doing everywhere. He needs doctors, nurses, firemen, mechanics, plumbers, farmers, electricians, lawyers, factory workers, salesman, teachers, secretaries, judges, painters, bus drivers, police officers, ball coaches, writers, carpenters, and every other kind of legitimate vocation you can name. It’s not all about prophets, missionaries, pastors, evangelists, and theologians with Him. And, of course, all this is to say nothing of His need for godly fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, grandfathers, grandmothers, aunts, uncles, etc. So, in the midst of everything that you have going on in your life, and in regards to all of the roles that you are currently playing, can you honestly say that you are living the life that God had in mind for you before you were conceived in your mother’s womb?
I don’t want you to take this post as a call to throw your life into total upheaval by quitting your job, selling your house, and abandoning your family, but I do want you to take it as a call to do a personal inventory of the various roles you are currently playing. Maybe you really are missing it in some way. Maybe you are off stride. Maybe you do need to make some God-approved changes.
If that’s you, please don’t be afraid to mind God by stepping out in faith and doing what He is burdening you to do. Even if that means the death of one of your dreams, you’ll get to enjoy the birth of a new one that is even better. With so many people out there playing roles that God never meant for them to play, it is vitally important that you get yours right. So, if you are on point at doing that, then stay the course and keep up the good work. But if you aren’t, then just know that the days of your life are ticking away and every day lost is one you can’t get back.