When I was a young man, my goal was to become a medical doctor. Reading the colorful and inspiring stories of dedicated missionaries was captivating to me. Dr. Albert Schweitzer, winner of the 1952 Nobel Prize for Peace, was a philosopher, organist and mission doctor who dedicated much of his life to working with natives in equatorial Africa. Dr. Tom Dooley, a retired navy doctor, risked his life to bring medicine and help to refugees in Indochina. These men demonstrated unselfish service that inspired me.
The world seemed full of hapless people who were running from oppression and caught in the miseries of poverty and violence. I wanted to do something to help as these men had.
I never became a medical doctor, although I did enter a premed program after my high school graduation. I’ve never been a missionary or traveled to Africa or Indochina. Often, we end up someplace other than where we thought we might! Many choices occur along the way, and my choices led in a fulfilling, if unexpected, direction.
What do you plan to do with your life? Many of the jobs of tomorrow don’t even exist now; yet adequate preparation is vital to your happiness and success. What can you do now to prepare?
Not just what you know, but what you are
Having a goal is vital to success, and getting the right education is also important. For most of you reading this article, the opportunities for a formal education are very good. But, even more important than skills and knowledge, what most companies need today are employees who have character traits based on honesty, sincerity and a willingness to work hard for the ideas they believe in.
Daniel Goleman, in his book Emotional Intelligence , says, “The rules for work are changing. We’re being judged by a new yardstick; not just by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also by how well we handle ourselves and each other” (Bantam Books, 1998, p. 3).
The Old Testament prophet Hosea states shockingly, “There is no truth or mercy or knowledge of God in the land” (Hosea 4:1 Hosea 4:1Hear the word of the LORD, you children of Israel: for the LORD has a controversy with the inhabitants of the land, because there is no truth, nor mercy, nor knowledge of God in the land.
American King James Version×). From the biblical perspective, man has drifted further and further away from godly knowledge and motives. What is needed in our society are those willing to serve others and who have the mind of God. God is preparing leaders for the world tomorrow and this opportunity is being offered to many of you.
One of the more intriguing opportunities I have had as an ordained minister is to preach at funerals. This is a time when many are sobered by the finality of death and questions about the gift of life are real. King David marveled: “When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You are mindful of him, and the son of man that You visit him?” (Psalms 8:3-4 Psalms 8:3-4 3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have ordained;
4 What is man, that you are mindful of him? and the son of man, that you visit him?
American King James Version×).
Clue to our destiny
Daniel was a captive living in Babylon and was also intrigued about life and the future. He was gifted with the understanding of dreams that foretold amazing events throughout history. In the final chapter of Daniel there is a pulse-pumping verse that gives us a clue. “And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, some to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness like the stars forever and ever” (Daniel 12:2-3 Daniel 12:2-3 2 And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.
3 And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever.
American King James Version×).
The word sleep used in this scripture refers to being dead. Yet there is an awakening to everlasting life. God is planning a life after death that includes being in His family (Hebrews 2:10-11 Hebrews 2:10-11 10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifies and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brothers,
American King James Version×). This will be achieved not by man’s creativity, but by a plan that God has set in motion being orchestrated by Jesus Christ.
Your destiny is to be a teacher!
God’s Holy Days unveil a powerful outline of His plan for mankind. There will be a new government without end (Isaiah 9:6-7 Isaiah 9:6-7 6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
American King James Version×) that will be set up on the earth (Matthew 6:10 Matthew 6:10Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
American King James Version×). When this new government of God is set up, the teachers (those that are wise) will be in the middle of things helping guide people to a way of life that brings the joy, happiness and peace that God has intended from the beginning.
“For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will be very gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you. And though the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your teachers will not be moved into a corner anymore, but your eyes shall see your teachers. Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left” (Isaiah 30:19-21 Isaiah 30:19-21 19 For the people shall dwell in Zion at Jerusalem: you shall weep no more: he will be very gracious to you at the voice of your cry; when he shall hear it, he will answer you.
20 And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not your teachers be removed into a corner any more, but your eyes shall see your teachers:
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, This is the way, walk you in it, when you turn to the right hand, and when you turn to the left.
American King James Version×).
Are you preparing?
The question is: Are you preparing for a job in the government of God? We live in a time when knowledge is increasing and people are running to and fro on the earth just like God revealed to Daniel (Daniel 12:4 Daniel 12:4But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.
American King James Version×). What a chance to learn and prepare. We have so much available to us. The Bible has not always been available. Many places exist today where the standard of living is so low and the dangers of war, starvation and disease are so great that staying alive dominates people’s every moment.
The United Church of God, an International Association , is committed to preparing the next group of leaders for service in the work of the Church and for the coming government of God. Our youth camps focus on the “Zone,” which models the successful way of God. Teens learn that God’s way does indeed work. You can achieve life-long friendships while having fun and being challenged. Our United Youth Corps has opened the door for travel and service that highlight the need for God’s Kingdom to come. The Ambassador Bible Center is now in place to offer a formal study of the foundation of all knowledge—the Word of God.
This generation shall not pass away
In a parable in Matthew 24 about a fig tree, Christ was illustrating that certain events would occur that would herald the end of the age and the coming of the Messiah. There it is prophesied that one end-time generation would not pass away until they had witnessed all these events (verses 32-34). The secret of unlocking this parable is understanding the “fruit” of the times. Is the fruit (condition of the world) ready for the return of Christ? The clues are scattered throughout the Bible.
The end time will be a time in which all flesh could be destroyed (Matthew 24:22 Matthew 24:22And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.
American King James Version×), a time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30) and a time of a knowledge explosion (Daniel 12). While no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return, the wise will take advantage of the opportunities made available. There is also prophesied a famine of the Word of God (Amos 8:11 Amos 8:11Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD:
American King James Version×). Waiting too long could be most unwise.
If you would like to learn more about how to discern the biblically predicted end of this age, request the free booklet Are We Living in the Time of the End?
Seek God first
If you want to make a difference in the world, you must have something to offer. God is looking for those who want to learn of Him, build godly character and be a part of His ruling family. Christ said it well, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33 Matthew 6:33But seek you first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you.
American King James Version×).
Looking back on my life with more than a couple of decades as a minister of God, I have no regrets that I didn’t become a missionary doctor. Saving people from sickness and disease is certainly admirable, but taking part in preparing the way for a never-ending life in the family of God is huge!
My wife and I have four children—two sons and two daughters. They, and you, are part of the new generation that is well positioned to become leaders at a most dynamic and electrifying time in history. Set your goal to make yourself ready for the challenge. YU