I was in the middle of a five-day retreat where it is my practice to start each year with time away to hit an internal “reset” and discern how to align myself with God’s purposes for the new year. Before I led several New Year Retreats for other leaders this month, I needed to do it for myself. Last year was more demanding than in some time, so I was feeling needy!
I was journaling on question #6 out of 20: What would God want to say to me in this moment? I always find that question to be daunting yet illuminating. I find myself stunned that the Holy Spirit would speak through me to me! Pretty much immediately. Have you discovered that?
One of the things I wrote down had not at all been in my conscious awareness: “I won’t let your gifts fall to the ground. You will serve your purpose in your generation.” And I was reminded of Acts 13:36, “When David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep.” And I realized that I have been haunted by that fear—the fear that I would never live up to my potential, my purpose. Perhaps you have felt that pang at times.
As I re-read that passage in Acts, Paul and Barnabas have entered the synagogue where Paul describes Jesus as the surprising answer to all the prophetic promises. One of several Old Testament references he makes is from David, “Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful [holy] one see decay” (Psalm 16:10). I’m pretty sure David died, so what is he talking about?
Paul proceeds to unpack it, “Now when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his ancestors and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay.”
Stay with me. There is a point, a really good one.
David seems confident that God has promised him that he will not see decay…yet Paul declares the obvious—David did die and his body decayed. But “the holy one” did not decay.
Back to what I heard in my journaling: I won’t let your gifts fall to the ground. They won’t decay! So here’s my takeaway. We know our physical bodies will eventually decay, no surprise there. Yet even more than that will decay—all that is unholy. Our false selves, our fears, our strivings, everything self-centered will in fact decay. Thank God. But “you will not…let your holy one see decay.” Is that Jesus? Yes, of course. But it is also Christ in you. And Christ in me.
The holy in you, the true self that God is restoring day by day (2 Cor. 4:16) will not fall to the ground. Your life will not be wasted, your gifts not lost. Does that promise impact you as it does me? I can’t even describe the lift of hope that awakens inside. That regardless of any human tally, the calling of God in and through me (and in and through you) will endure. It will not decay! None of us will see its full glory in this earthbound realm, but it will continue to blossom on the other side. I hope you will receive the hope of that promise deep into your being today.
That’s what I call potential!
Read Psalm 16 today and own these truths over your new year:
God is your “good thing.”
God provides for and secures your life.
God counsels you while you sleep.
There is unending joy for you in God’s presence.
…and a bunch more!
Your potential will not be lost.