Digging Deeper

Unearthing the surpassing riches of Christ

Contentment, Mid-Life Crisis and Your Decisions

Psalm 127 (ESV)

1      Unless the Lord builds the house,
         those who build it labor in vain.
    Unless the Lord watches over the city,
         the watchman stays awake in vain.
2      It is in vain that you rise up early
         and go late to rest,
    eating the bread of anxious toil;
         for he gives to his beloved sleep.
3      Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord,
         the fruit of the womb a reward.
4      Like arrows in the hand of a warrior
         are the children of one’s youth.
5      Blessed is the man
         who fills his quiver with them!
    He shall not be put to shame
         when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

I am at the age where I should be going through my mid-life crisis.  It’s that time where men start doing crazy things like buying new sports cars, looking for new jobs, and making all sorts of crazy decisions.

The “mid-life crisis” is just one of many times of life where we are tempted to build our own house instead of having the Lord build it for us. At at times such as these, we decide whether to build our own house or to let the Lord build it.

Psalm 127 shows how the decisions we make often have a negative effect on the people around us. If you read it, it looks like there are two completely different sections here. But, if you think about it they relate. The way we build our house affects the way that we interact with our children and others.

Children are the biggest losers when fathers decide to build their own house outside the will and purposes of God. If they are neglected because of overly busy father who is pursuing “something better”, the whole family loses out. Fathers miss out on the ministry their children desperately need.

On the other hand, the father that entrusts himself to God, trusting that God will build the home, will have great gain. The investment in the family, in the relationships will bring great fruit to each member, to the church, and to the community. They are arrows to be shot into the world.

For this reason, men who are tempted to switch careers to earn more money or even to pursue a new passion should give pause before making that decision. Remember that God has already called you to a certain kind of work. He has given you enormous “career capital” that God has given to you, and you can use to serve your family. Generally, you are already in a place of great success; you have great skills and a network of relationships to help you in your work.

That is the place God is working in your life. Oftentimes, the press to a new career at this time of life is difficult, in part, because the Lord is not building that new house. He is building the old one the man is thinking about leaving! That new career he is thinking about doing is inhabited by young people who can live on less money, take greater risks, and are well positioned for the work he is thinking about switching to. No amount of effort will make up for that difference. They can take risk and learn, but the 40+ man doesn’t have the time, at least not without neglecting the weightier matters of family and God.

However, if a man develops and branches out the skills that he already has, he will often find that God is already at work in that field. He will find blessing.

What then does that free up time for in the man’s life? Time for building his real legacy. No, not his bank account or his job titles, but his family, his wife, and his children. Time to build their character. Time to prepare them for the world. Time to prepare them for productivity. Time to prepare them to fight against the temptations of the world and the devil.

Brothers and friends, don’t neglect your true legacy for the pursuit of a vain dream.

Some thoughts:

  • Realize God has made you for something. Develop your skills according to God’s providential hand in your past.
  • It is always good to build new skills and try new things. But remember that God has already brought you where you are or a reason. The more consistent you are in the direction that you are already moving, the more successful you will likely be.
  • Devote yourself to the character of your children.
  • Contentment is key here. When we are content, we can be faithful in our vocation and our family. Practice daily thankfulness.
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August 10, 2016 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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