Something mentioned in a sermon I heard recently is ringing in my ears.. “Don’t waste your blank space.” This is something that J.D. Greear quoted while bringing us truth at a chapel at Southeastern. You might ask- What does that even mean.. You might even wonder what that has to do with you. Those were the two things that I’ve been pondering since standing and walking out of those chapel doors.
Greear was teaching from Acts 9 about “Paul’s 14 Year Internship”- to sum it up quickly… After God turned Paul’s life completely around it wasn’t rainbows and butterflies.. This man who once persecuted Christians was now experiencing the grace and mercy of God through his own suffering and then ultimately he was martyred for it! But let’s back up a little bit..
15 “But, the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. 16 For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Greear spoke about how Paul was chosen but not opposed, chosen but he was being prepared and chosen but he suffered. As Paul was walking this journey of following Jesus Christ, he had many seasons of waiting, training, gleaning and practicing.. He didn’t always get what he wanted when he wanted it- a matter of fact he rarely did. I doubt anyone wants to be ship wrecked, have huge stones thrown at them, or have to escape being murdered by being lowered in a basket over a tall wall… That’s right people- the bible is basically where writers get the best tv show ideas – LOST, Survivor, The World Race– but back to the main questions..
What does he mean by “Don’t waste your blank space?” and “What does that have to do with me?”
In reading Paul’s story it often jumps years and seasons of his life in just a small blank space in your bible.. In these blank spaces his story is still happening it’s just not written. It’s in these times that God is training him, developing his character and His identity in him in order for him to serve Christ well.
I see this through a different lens.. I’m an artist and in drawing or painting the blank space is an intricate portion of every piece of work. If you don’t have enough, sometimes your piece can look too busy, but if it has too much blank space you’re art can look unfinished or without purpose.. Just like our lives. Our life’s mission can’t be full of “blank space” but we do need to have some in our lives to build character and find our identity in Christ.
So what then can I learn and take away from this? In these seasons of life where I feel that I’d rather GO and God is telling me to STAY to prepare? He’s teaching me to glean from those around me, to seek wisdom and do good. But reminding me to do that here, do that now. It’s quite simple, God wants our hearts and minds to focus/love/trust in Him! We have to fully grasp that it’s really not about us and we may never know why God is choosing to work in us and push us through certain seasons of our lives- but THAT’S OKAY.
You. Are. Chosen.
What made Paul ‘keep getting on the boat’ physically and spiritually? Just that, He understood that God had chosen him to be a part of His family. He understood the concept of God’s grace and mercy in saving him. Paul NEVER “got over” his salvation, because he walked with and in the Spirit every day after it.
How am I walking in the spirit? How can I use my blank space to glorify the Father today and tomorrow? Ask yourself these things and let us know what you come up with!
Watch Greear’s chapel message HERE