Christine Caine - Grab A Shovel, Part 4
You don't even know what God has rescued you from by taking you the long way round. You've been frustrated with God, you may have even been offended with God, but you don't know what God's protected you from. You don't know what accident he's protected you from. You don't know what he's kept from your path, what enemies has kept you from by taking you the long way round. Somebody needs to give God some praise for the long way round. You have been so frustrated 'cause it seems like everybody around you has gotten the shortcut and you've gone the long way round. Are you ready for God to do something new and powerful in your life? Well, many wonder what the future holds and how we should live in times of crisis. God's word has the answers. So grab your journal and a pen and take some notes and let's dive right into today's message. There is a way for you to walk in faith and experience the fullness of your purpose. And I just know God has a word he wants to deposit in your heart today.
Hey, everyone, I'm so grateful that you've joined us today for our final episode on a great series that has encouraged me and I pray that it has encouraged you on picking up a shovel and digging wells I'm believing God that we are coming into a season of revival, perhaps greatest revival we have ever, ever seen in history. I'm believing that God wants to pour out his spirit and bring revival throughout this earth, but it's got to start with us. And we have to be willing to pick up a shovel.
Of course, our text for this whole series has been in the book of Genesis chapter 26. We've looked at the life of Isaac as he redug the wells of his father, Abraham, and then he dug new wells and we use that as a metaphor of allowing the Lord to come in and dig up the wells of our heart so that we could get rid of the junk out of our heart and then we could be filled afresh with the Spirit of God, and out of us as we go to Jesus, the living water himself, we would be filled afresh with that living water and out of us would flow rivers of living water into a lost and a broken and a parched world. And our world desperately needs the people of God full of the living water of God, Jesus himself, to bring hope and healing to a very, very fragmented, tormented, broken world. And Jesus is the hope of the world and he has chosen to use his church as the vessel through which that hope is dispersed into a lost and a broken world.
And so last week we were looking at why is it that people don't want to pick up a shovel and dig? Why is it that we don't want to get our hands dirty? And we realized it's because it's a lot of hard work. It's unglamorous work. Nobody gets pumped up about somebody digging ditches. We just think well, I want the Instagram worthy photo life of following Jesus. And Jesus says, "I'm looking for a generation that will just pick up a shovel and start digging. Start digging in anonymity, start digging in obscurity, start digging wells for the generations that are to come after them. I'm looking for a generation that would do it".
A reason we don't pick up a shovel often is because of FOMO. And we talk so much about our Fear Of Missing Out that we think if I do what God has called me to do, I'm going to miss out on a better option. And then we looked at, you've got to watch last week's episode because we looked at the fact that there is nothing better than fulfilling the purpose of God in your generation. That we are his workmanship recreated in Christ Jesus to do good works that he prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Anything that our Father prepared beforehand would be the pinnacle, would be the best.
There is nothing that would come close to doing what the thing that God has put you on this earth to do, that we've been invited to be co-laborers in the kingdom with the Lord Jesus Christ. An invitation from the king himself to co-labor with him in the harvest field. To affect his plan, his purpose, here on earth, there is no greater calling, but our Fear Of Missing Out on this earth makes us not pursue the things in the life to come. And yet, if we had FOMO about missing our eternal rewards or missing some of the eternal things that God has for us, then we would be about the Father's business here on earth. We would care more about the Father's business than everybody else's business. And FOMO is a thing that stops us from picking up a shovel and digging.
Another thing that causes us to really not pick up a shovel is the fact that we are a generation that is largely uncommitted. We do not like commitment. Now, a lot of that has to do with, some people go, well, Christine, why should I commit myself to institutions or organizations? I mean, there's a sort of anti-authoritarianism definitely that has happened because people say, well, there has been abuse or there has been injustice or there has been something that has happened there that just has hindered me, so why should I be committed? Why shouldn't I just pursue what will be best for me? So we have a generation that is largely commitment-phobic. And so our FOMO leads to a lack of commitment. And yet Jesus said in Luke 9:23, and he said to all, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me". And so Jesus says, "You got to take up your cross, and it's an all-in life".
Christianity is not this sort of optional life where you can sort of put half in and keep half out for yourself. It's an all-in life. Jesus doesn't say, actually, I'll just have your Sunday and not your Monday through Saturday. He says, "Deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me". 24/7. The Christian life is an all-in life. The problem is our generation is a commitment phobia generation. We marry older, we commit to things later. We don't want to commit. Now, that is very inconvenient for a Christian life because the Christian life is an all-in commitment life. It's Jesus, you have it all. Jesus, it is all yours.
Our generation, we love our options, don't we? We have an app for everything. We've got dating apps, we've got food apps, we've got entertainment apps. We want options when it comes to jobs, we want options when it comes to churches, we want options when it wants to come to services, we don't want to pick up a shovel and dig, 'cause that would mean I have to be committed right here. And I don't want to be committed right here. What if there's something better over there? You don't want to think about the things that the Lord has allowed me to do. The issue is I just picked up a shovel wherever I was and God opened up doors of opportunity.
You know, at 22 was when I started volunteering at our Local Youth Center, not because that was anything I ever wanted to do, but it was the only opportunity that was there. I picked up a shovel. It was a Local Youth Center. I didn't know that volunteering in Local Youth Center 20 or 32 years ago would lead to doors opening to speak at big youth events, doors opening to found a global anti-trafficking organization, doors opening to run a global women's movement. But you know what, if I didn't pick up my shovel and volunteer at the Local Youth Center, I wouldn't be here before you today. A lot of us were waiting for that big opportunity somewhere out there that we don't pick up a shovel right where we are and start digging right where we are.
I want to encourage someone today on the other side of that screen to pick up a shovel right where you are. It might not be what you prayed for it might not look as glamorous as someone else's life on Instagram, but pick up a shovel. Because once you pick up that shovel and you start digging, you will be surprised that the rivers of living water that will start to sprout up and the doors of opportunity that will happen for you. You've got to start where you are. I could not have mapped out my life to be where it is today. I mean, I just am astounded. It is to the glory of God. I could never have imagined that we would be running A21 and 22 offices in 18 countries. I would never have thought that we would have propelled chapters in 88 countries of the world. I would never have thought that I'd be here on TV speaking to you today. I could never have dreamt this, I couldn't have mapped it, but I can tell you, 32 years ago I picked up a shovel and started volunteering in a Local Youth Center, and somehow 32 years later, here I am today.
Some of you think that God is just going to map it all out and show you a clear path and you're never prepared to pick up a shovel. But the fact is you won't step into your purpose until you pick up the shovel. Start serving where you are. Start getting involved where you are. Start doing what you can with what you have where you are. The fact is, Jesus calls us to follow him, it's a calling for all of us. Christianity is not a career. Let me just think of the best thing I want to do. What is the thing that I want? No, no, no, no. Jesus says, "Drop your nets, follow me. All in. All of your life. I want it all 24/7. In fact, my life is what I'm going to give you for your life, and my life is way better, way better".
So we're going to get there to the purpose that we want by starting here where we are. Unless you pick up a shovel here, you're never going to get there. And kind of in the era that we live in, we just think the perfect opportunity and we don't have to do anything. Salvation is free. Jesus Christ, it was very costly. But we have received salvation by faith through grace in Christ and his finished work at Calvary. But for us to step into our purpose and our calling, we've got to pick up a shovel and dig. It's not going to fall out of the sky. We've got to be about the Father's business. We've got to pick up a shovel where we are.
You know, a lot of us, we think that Christianity is a spectator sport and we're kind of scrolling through everyone's life. And God says, "No, until you pick up a shovel where you are, you've got no skin in the game". And God says, "Christianity is an all-skin-in-the-game it's not that you turn up at the grand stand and you're sitting in the grand stands and you're spectating at a Christian event". And we go to Christian events and we watch the Christians do their thing in the arena. No, no, no, no. Every one of us is called to be all in followers of Jesus and then serving him and outworking that faithful life in our communities, in our sphere of influence, in our realm. There is no spectator sport. There is none!
Jesus is looking for a generation that are all in, a generation that have skin in the game. So the fact is Jesus Christ went to the cross at Calvary, he gave his all for us, he rose again from the dead and he asks our all as we follow him. It affects every aspect of our lives. Our relationships, our social life, the way we live, our sexual lives. It impacts every aspect of our life. Our economic life, our pursuits, our aspirations, our dreams, our desires. There is not one part of our life that is not impacted if we are followers of Jesus. It's not like a Sunday, I'm spectating at a church service. It's an all in life with skin in the game. Picking up a shovel and digging right where I am. Living for the glory of God. Pursuing the purpose of God. Pursuing that thing that he has put us on this earth to do. There is no greater life.
Another reason that we don't pick up a shovel and dig is that we like patience. A lot of us, we don't want to wait for anything. I don't want to wait for my purpose. I don't want to wait that long. I mean, most of us, if a video takes more than two seconds to load, we've moved on. We get news on demand at the touch of an app. With Amazon prime, we get our groceries at the touch of an app. I mean, Uber is going to take us wherever we want to go. Electric scooters are right there for us. Our world favors the short term. The financial markets, they think in seconds. Magazines and the fashion industry, they think in seasons. Business leaders, they think in the next quarter. Politicians think of the next term in office.
So what is happening is we have been trained and formed to think instant now. What's going to happen now? And yet that's not how kingdom life is. Kingdom life, the Bible says, I love this, in Hebrews 6:12, we do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate them those who through faith and patience inherit the promise. I'm here to tell you today, faith is not enough. Some of you you're like, God, I had faith and you let me down. And the Lord says, what about patience? Faith plus patience equals promise. Some of us are strong on the faith part but not the patience part and then we wonder why we don't have the promise, and yet our generation is being formed to be so impatient in every realm of life. But you don't just step into the purpose of God. Everyone's looking to be the next discovered star.
Man, I don't want to be the next discovered person. But the fact is they are so few and far between, in the kingdom, it doesn't work like that. Our life is formed over the course of our life. We have to have patience, the capacity to tolerate delay, the capacity to wait. The Bible says that we will have need of endurance. That means to bear up under. Listen, 2020 was a really, really hard year, but I need to tell you all that it's not necessarily all going to get greater out there. We are living in the last days, so we need a generation of Christians that are willing to pick up a shovel and start digging that we would endure, that we would build some spiritual muscle, that we would have some patience so that we can live in the midst of what's going on and offer hope and life and peace and purpose to a lost and a broken world, but we will need faith and patience, and our impatience is killing us. Our impatience is thwarting the purpose of God. We have to understand that God doesn't do, there are suddenlies in the Bible, but most suddenlies take about 15 to 20 years.
Some people often will say to me, Chris, look what you're doing. I'm like, I'm 54 years old. I've been doing this for over three decades. There are no overnight successes. You might look and think, Chris, that's an overnight success. That's three decades. That's a very long night. And you were raised in a generation that just wants everything overnight. You know, when the Lord brought the children of Israel out of Egypt to take them into the Promised Land, in Exodus 23:29-30, he says this, "But I will not drive them out in a single year, because the land would become desolate and the wild animals too numerous for you. Little by little, I will drive them out before you until you have increased enough to take possession of the land".
The Lord didn't give them all of the Promised Land all at once. The Lord gives it little by little until you build strength to carry the next load. It's just like my kids. I don't give them everything at once. I'll give them little by little as they grow into what their inheritance is. God has an inheritance for you. And you're wondering why he hasn't dropped it all out of the sky. He says, "I'm giving it to you little by little". So pick up a shovel and start digging to build some of that spiritual muscle that you're going to need to walk into the purpose and the plan of God for your life. He says in Exodus chapter 13 verse 17 to 22, when Pharaoh let the people go, God did not lead them on the road through the Philistine country, though that was shorter. For God said, "If they faced war, they might change their minds and return to Egypt".
So God led the people around by the desert road toward the Red Sea. The Israelites went up out of Egypt ready for battle. Man the path of least resistance would have been deadly for the Israelites. And the Bible says that the Lord didn't take them the short way. Isn't it frustrating when you know God's got a shortcut, when you know God could get you there quicker? But the Bible says that he took them the long way round. So not only did he give it to them little by little but he took them the long way round even though he knew there was a shortcut. We got a generation that is so obsessed with shortcuts that they're bypassing how God wants to get them to where he's going to get them and then they wonder why they never get there. God didn't take them the shortcut because they would have been destroyed. They weren't strong enough, they weren't prepared enough to be able to fight their enemies. They would have been taken out. They would have been destroyed.
You don't even know what God has rescued you from by taking you the long way around. You've been frustrated with God, you may have even been offended with God, but you don't know what God's protected you from. You don't know what accident he's protected you from. You don't know what he's kept from your path, what enemies he's kept you from by taking you the long way round. Somebody needs to give God some praise for the long way round. You have been so frustrated because it seems like everybody around you has gotten the shortcut and you've gone the long way round, but God's been protecting you and preparing you for the thing that he's prepared for you. Your God is good and your God is faithful. He'll get you to where you need to go and you'll be the person you need to be to carry the weight of what it is that he's got for you on the other side. In my experience, over three decades of following Jesus, God has always taken me the long way round and given it to me little by little. It's never been an overnight thing.
And then the Bible says in Psalm 37:23, the steps of a good person are ordered by the Lord so not only does God give it to you little by little, not only does God take you the long way around, but the Bible says the steps of a righteous person are ordered by the Lord. The steps. See a lot of us, we want to take an elevator to the top man. We're just think God's got an elevator, press the button, I'm going to get to the top. But there are no elevators to the top, there are just steps, and you build one step on the next step on the next step on the next step. And so we need to be a generation that understands God's going to give it to us little by little, that understands God is going to take us often the long way round for our own protection and our own preparation, and that God gives it to us one step at a time. So unless you're willing to take the next step, you're not going to step into the next step. You just got to say yes to that step.
And we want to see the whole staircase before we'll take the next step, and God rarely shows you how the whole staircase ends up. He shows you the next step. And sometimes with fear and trepidation, you're like, I hope there's a step there, but you can trust your God because he's faithful. There will be a step there, but he often only gives it to us one step at a time. The Bible says in Jeremiah two verse 13, the Lord says, "For my people have committed a double evil: they have abandoned me, the fountain of living water, and dug cisterns for themselves - cracked cisterns that cannot hold water". We're living in a generation, the Lord in the book of Jeremiah calls it evil, where instead of digging the Lord's wells, we're digging our own wells hoping to get satisfaction, hoping that by pursuing life my own way, pursuing relationships that are ungodly, pursuing exploits that are not for us, we're trying to get satisfaction, we're trying to get our thirst quenched, we're trying to get our purpose satisfied, and yet he says, they're never going to satisfy you.
Friend, living for yourself is never going to satisfy you. Climbing to the top of the corporate ladder is not ultimately going to satisfy you. No matter how much money you've got in the bank, it might make your life easier, but it's not ultimately going to satisfy your meaning and your purpose. You are not going to find ultimate satisfaction in another person, in a lover, in a thing, in how much you are amass, how much you acquire, how much you accumulate. You were created by God for a relationship with God, and it's Jesus that connects us to God, it's Jesus that connects us to the grace of God, and nothing but the rich living water of Jesus himself will ever quench that unsatiable thirst you have.
No amount of drugs is going to do it, no amount of alcohol is going to do it, mo amount of money is going to do it, no amount of sex is going to do it, no amount of accolades are going to do it. The only thing that is ever going to quench that deep thirst that resides on the inside of you is the rivers of living water himself. His name is Jesus. And my prayer is that you would open up your life and your heart to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Receive those rivers of living water. Find ultimate meaning, find ultimate purpose. Know what it is to have forgiveness for your past, a brand new start today and a hope for the future. You will never know peace and you will never find peace until you find the source of peace himself. His name is Jesus. Dig the well. Taste the rivers of living water. His name is Jesus. He will quench your thirst. He will satisfy your deepest hunger. You will know peace when you know Jesus.