Have you ever reached your destination, but found out it was the wrong date? Dad did. On October 13, 2002, Dad and Mom drove seven hours to speak at a Minister’s Retreat. He checked into the motel and called the pastor to let him know he had arrived. Guess what? It was the right place, but the wrong time. Dad was one week early. What could he do? He turned around and drove the seven hours back home. That was an inconvenient 14-hour round trip on his birthday.
Have you ever arrived on time, but found out it was the wrong place? I did. I was working for Metropolitan Insurance Company in 1979. My appointment was two hours from Tulsa on a Saturday morning. I followed the directions – except for one thing: I was supposed to drive two hours SOUTH, but I drove two hours NORTH. I turned around and went back home. That was only a 4-hour round trip and I missed sale that would have netted me $100. Dad was at the right place at the wrong time. I was at the right time at the wrong place.
But have you ever started a project and forgot why you were doing it? That’s a tough one! Let me tell you about Christopher Columbus.
Columbus has been described as: one of the greatest sailors in history, a genius, a man of faith, a hero, an administrative failure, and a greedy imperialist. It depends on who you talk to. Columbus’ confidence in finding a westward route to India grew out of the practical experience of a long maritime career, as well as out of his knowledge in geography and cartography (map-making).
His journey to sail and chart the route to foreign lands took place just after a long war had been fought between Muslims (the Moors) and Christians in Spain and Portugal. (This kind of war is not new.)
In ancient times sailors knew that the Earth was round, Columbus had studied cartography with his brother, and scientists of the day had even estimated the earth’s size and its volume. (Their incorrect estimate of the earth’s diameter was about 3,000 miles, but of course, today we know the diameter is about 7,900 miles.)
Further examination of Columbus’s writings, and related sources, reveal that Columbus had a very important reason for sailing to India. Christoferens (Christ-bearer) was another version of his name. He believed that he was divinely ordained to carry Christianity across the westward ocean to the people of the Orient. Columbus’ desire was that “the Indian nations might become dwellers in the triumphant Church of Heaven.” That was his goal. That was his calling in life.
What happened to the potential Missionary? He got side-tracked. He got Gold Fever and missed God’s will for his life. He was also deprived of the conditional promises the king had made: riches, his own naval fleet, a title of nobility, and the prestige of having the new lands named after him.
His first trip was in 1492; his 4th trip was in 1504; he died in 1506. To his dying day, he tried to rebuild his fortune, his reputation, and his status in life; but he died a broken man. He had put God’s will aside, and went after the gold. He forgot that Scripture said, “Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” He took his eyes off the goal that God gave him, and focused on another god: gold.
Hebrews 12:1-2 says, “Noting that we are surrounded with such a great a cloud of witnesses, let us put aside everything that might take our eyes off the goal, and the sin which so easily distracts us, and let us persevere as we run the race that God has set before us. Lock your sights onto Jesus the author and completer of our faith; who, because of the joy He would receive, endured the cross, ignored the shame, and now is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Find out what God’s goals are for you. Do what it takes to fulfill them, and your life will take on a richer and deeper meaning.