This past week was a poignant one for me because I celebrated the second anniversary of my mother's homegoing on October 14th and the thirteen-year homegoing of my father on October 16th. God put their Heavenly immigration dates close together on the calendar, just like He did their physical bodies during their marriage on earth.
I recently heard a sermon on the Apostle Paul's ministry stating that it was close to thirteen years from his conversion to his emergence as a global missionary. Of course, there are numerous timelines as to how long his transition from calling to preaching was, but the point is executing your purpose takes time—sometimes a lifetime.
A man asks God, "God, is it true that to you a billion years is like a second?"
God said yes.
The man said, "God, is it true that to you, a billion dollars is like a penny?"
God said yes.
The man said, "God, can I have a penny?"
God said, "Sure, just a second."
When living a purpose-driven life, there is no clock as we know it, only a divine timeline. The day before my father passed, I told him I was heeding the call to return to continue what he started. That was 13 years and two days ago today. I heard the call, and I received the call. I began shifting my sails so that I could change my life course. But it took me many years to go through the teaching, training, and transformation to execute the call.
I remember reading Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers premise that achieving expertise in any endeavor takes approximately 10,000 hours or roughly five years. That was not the timeclock God had for me. I passed through year five, still in my apprentice stage, then onto years 6, 7, 8, 9 . . . you get the idea. All the while, I was waiting for the opportunity to charge forward. Yet, I was repeatedly sent back to basic training. So, when I heard this sermon about how long it took Paul to engage his missional capacity fully, it gave me great comfort, joy, and hope.
One constant has kept me forward-focused despite my much longer than anticipated time in training: I never considered the calling my own. It was, is, and will be, all God's. While I do not worship my earthly father and his tremendous body of work, I do adore where my father's work was directed -- to our Creator. It’s a fact that business is uncertain, people are fickle, legacies will fade, and cash flow is unpredictable. I knew early on that I could not attach my hopes to anything that would let me down, and that is pretty much anything and anyone this side of Heaven.
That's why, even though by worldly standards I’m a so-so entrepreneur at best, who hasn’t scaled a business to epic proportions, nor broken any best-seller records, I've been able to count it all joy amidst handling embarrassing failures and undesirable dealings during my time at the helm of the Tremendous Leader Ship.
I've been able to shrug off the intense bitterness and move to a state of incredible joy because what I adore is something that cannot let me down. I've had many wonderful blessings happen to me during these thirteen years as well. Still, I do not worship any of those things because my health, my marriage, my money, you name it, could be gone in an instant.
I imagine the Apostle Paul would have said it best were he alive today, "Life is Tremendous when you count it all rubbish." Paul’s proclamation in Philippians 3:8 echoed this realization that nothing in this world matters save knowing Christ. "More than that, I count all things to be loss given the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them mere rubbish, so that I may gain Christ."
And thirteen years later, I am beginning to understand what this phenomenal man of God meant. I am genuinely learning that nothing else matters, and I have gained and lost enough to know this from experience. Although life is tremendous in many aspects, it is as worthless as garbage compared to the glory to come.