Dean Kuest – Glendale Campus Pastor
One of my favorite places in the world is Whidbey Island, WA. The beaches are a covered in smooth rock and filled with driftwood. My kids have always loved building forts out of the driftwood they find. In the process you find quite a bit more amongst the fallen trees. (I have a beautiful Sake bottle that showed up amidst the tsunami debris from Japan.) These beaches seem to be the end of the long journey for many pieces of trash and floating treasure that have fallen victim to the drift of the ocean.
When you drift, you have lost all control over your destination…unless you’re in a car. There, drifting has become a sport. It is a technique (made famous by Lightning McQueen) where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels or all tires, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner.
“Loss of traction” while “maintaining control”. The sounds like my life sometimes. How about yours?
I think all of us would say that there are certain directions that we desire for our life to move. Whether it be job related, relationship-oriented or spiritually-centered, we have dreams, desires, hopes, goals, and plans in multiple areas of our lives. However, it takes purposeful decisions, habits, and action steps to get the traction to move our life in those directions. That’s not the problem. The problem is maintaining that kind of purpose over the long haul.
When we are moving forward with purpose and then lose traction, we call it “Mission Drift”. You can read about it in blogs all over the internet regarding businesses, but it applies to our personal lives as well. Here is how it is defined, “To move passively, aimlessly, or involuntarily into a certain situation or condition without measuring against a mission statement or purpose. It happens to all of us. We lose sight of our goals and purpose and begin to drift. Like a driver on the track, we have lost traction and we attempt to maintain control. “Attempt” being the operative word. We are in control until we aren’t…right?
Solomon did not call it Mission Drift, but he experienced it. We know King Solomon as a man who made a lot of great choices in his life. He chose wisdom over money and ended up with both. He pursued massive projects and accomplished them, building the Temple and fortifying Jerusalem. He loved God and put Him first in his life…until he started to drift. I am sure he was in control of the drift at first, but like I have stated already, you are in control until you aren’t.
Let me take you on a quick trip through a few excerpts of the final chapter of Solomon’s life, found in 1 Kings 11.
- As Solomon grew old, his wives turned his heart after other gods, and his heart was not fully devoted to the Lord his God, as the heart of David his father had been.
- The Lord became angry with Solomon because his heart had turned away from the Lord.
- Then the Lord raised up against Solomon an adversary…
- And God raised up against Solomon another adversary…
- Also, Jeroboam son of Nebat rebelled against the king. He was one of Solomon’s officials…
- Solomon reigned in Jerusalem over all Israel forty years. Then he rested with his ancestors and was buried in the city of David his father. And Rehoboam his son succeeded him as king.
I’m sure that you will agree with me that none of us want the last chapter of our lives to read that way. So what does it take to keep from drifting? It takes constant examination as you honestly answer simple questions like these. (They could be about any area of our life, but I’ll ask some that relate to our spiritual lives.)
- Do I have goals that will help me grow in my understanding of what it means to follow Jesus?
- Am I taking purposeful steps to achieve those goals?
- Do I surround myself with people (a Life Group counts, sitting in church doesn’t) who encourage me in my pursuit of the above goals?
- Am I drifting? Does anyone else know that I am drifting?
It is in consistently answering these types of questions that we write the last chapters of our lives. I’m sure that Solomon wishes he had done the same. Fight the drift!