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Faithlife

Stop Running

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John 10:10 KJV 1900
The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.
2 Kings 13:14–20 KJV 1900
Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice. And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year.
Greek: perissos > Extraordinary
The New American Commentary: John 1–11 (1) Discourse on the Good Shepherd (10:1–18)

The Greek perisson means “that which goes way beyond necessity.” John wanted all his readers to know that the gift of Jesus is life beyond our wildest dreams.

The journey of abundant life begins when you raise the bar. We need to raise the bar of our standards of our faith, of our sacrifice, of our expectations of ourselves, of our belief of the goodness and generosity of God.
The journey of abundant life begins when you raise the bar. We need to raise the bar of our standards of our faith, of our sacrifice, of our expectations of ourselves, of our belief of the goodness and generosity of God.
We can refuse to be average. We must refuse to be average. We must war against the temptation to settle for less. Average is always a safe choice, and it is the most dangerous choice we can make. Average protects us from the risk of failure, and it also separates us from futures of greatness. The Abundant Life is for those who decide they will never settle.
I have never found a way around failure and so I cannot teach you how not to fail, but I can guide you to the place where you will never quit.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 5). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 5-6). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
And I am equally certain that most of us underestimate how much God actually wants to do in our lives and through our lives. The abundant life is about leaving nothing undone that was ours to do. It is squeezing the marrow out of life. This journey is about ensuring that when we come to the end of our lives, we will arrive at our final moments with no regret.
In this story, Jehoash is the king of Israel when the kingdoms of Israel and Judah are divided and at war against one another. His kingdom is being threatened by the armies of Amaziah, king of Judah. The one great advantage Jehoash has is that the prophet Elisha is with them, but now Elisha is suffering from an illness that will lead to his death. Jehoash goes and weeps over him, less because of his sorrow for the loss of the prophet and more because of his fear of the loss of Elisha’s protection.
Jehoash calls out to Elisha, who has been a symbol and source of God’s strength and power, but now is clearly at the end of his life.
Elisha then gives him a somewhat unusual series of instructions. Elisha says, “Get a bow and some arrows,” and he does so. Then he tells him, “Take the bow in your hands.” When Elisha commands Jehoash to do this, the king immediately complies. When the king raises the bow and arrow, Elisha puts his hands on the king’s hands.
“Open the east window,” he says, and the king opens it. “Shoot!” Elisha says, and Jehoash shoots. “The LORD’s arrow of victory, the arrow of victory over Aram!” Elisha declares. “You will completely destroy the Arameans at Aphek.” Then he says, “Take the arrows,” and the king takes them. Elisha tells him, “Strike the ground.” He strikes it three times and stops. Then the Scriptures tell us something that is quite unexpected: “The man of God was angry with him and said, ‘You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram and completely destroyed it. But now you will defeat it only three times.’ ” Right after he says this, the story tells us, “Elisha died and was buried.”
Much of what happens here doesn’t make any sense to our modern minds. How could the king’s future be so affected by whether he struck an arrow three times or five or six times? Why didn’t Elisha explain to him what was required before holding him to its consequences? How could the king have known that six is the magic number and that three would leave him wanting? Up to that moment, he had done everything Elisha instructed him. But when Elisha told him to strike the ground with the arrows, the prophet left the instruction open ended.
. 7-8). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 6). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition. is about leaving nothing undone that was ours to do. It is squeezing the marrow out of life. This journey is about ensuring that when we come to the end of our lives, we will arrive at our final moments with no regret.
It is not insignificant that the text says, “The man of God was angry with him.” Clearly much more was happening here than meets the eye. This was no small mistake. The king began with the promise of a complete victory and afterward was the recipient of much less. And it all centers around one decision: he struck the ground three times and then stopped. Putting it another way: he quit. The Bible doesn’t tell us why he quit. Maybe he was tired, maybe he felt ridiculous, maybe he thought it was beneath him, or perhaps he sensed it was an act of futility. But it is clear that, for Elisha, the fact that the king stopped striking the arrow was connected to his determination to receive the full measure of God’s intention for him. He quit and the victory was lost. He just didn’t want it badly enough.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 7). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 7-8). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 8). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 8-9). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
DON’T STOP UNTIL YOU ARE FINISHED
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 6). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
I wonder how many victories are lost before the battle has even begun. I wonder how much more good God desires to usher into the world that has been thwarted by our own lack of ambition. I wonder how many times in my own life I thought I failed but actually the only thing that happened was that I quit.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 6). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Edition.
What is it about us that stops before we’re finished, that mistakes quitting for failure, that settles for less? I see too much of myself in this—can identify too many times when I have prayed too little, expected too little, and done too little. Have you become the kind of person who is always looking for the least you can do, trying to do only what is required? Or are you the kind of person who has given up not only on life but also on yourself? When you come to the end of your life, will you be able to say, “I gave everything I had,” or will you have a hollow feeling inside of your soul that you quit too soon, that you expected too little.
We are not supposed to die with our quivers full. In fact, our greatest aspiration should be to die with our quiver empty. Those who never settle have the mind-set that they are saving nothing for the next life.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 9). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 9). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 7). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Yet all around us, we find hopeful reminders that seemingly ordinary people have found their way to living extraordinary lives. We know their stories; they inspire us and light afresh a flame of hope in us that we, too, might become more—that we might break through the gravitational pull of mediocrity and transcend the status quo, living a life that is uniquely our own. There does seem to be a break point, a defining moment, a moment of truth when a person decides that he or she will not settle for less, that less is no longer an option.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 13). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 9). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Mick Fanning, nicknamed White Lightning, is an Australian professional surfer. Fanning won the 2007, 2009, and 2013 ASP World Tours. He seemed to have surfing in both his blood and his destiny. But on July 19, 2015, while he was at a competition in South Africa, spectators watched in horror while he fought off a shark as it tore into the rip cord on his board. Unbelievably, he escaped unhurt—but not unrattled.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 11). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Six days later he returned to surfing. Then, as if fate were determined to have its way, another shark pursued him and he had to get out of the water.
Fanning’s response gives us insight into the kind of person who achieves at the highest level in his or her chosen pursuit. He said, “Surfing got me through the hardest times in my life, so to turn my back on surfing wouldn’t be right.” In his own way, Fanning was telling us that he was saving nothing for the next life.
We can become so afraid of death that we never live, so afraid of failure that we never risk, so afraid of pain that we never discover how strong we really are. You just have to want to ride the wave more than you fear the shark. And while South Africa is known for its shark-infested waters, I can tell you that life anywhere is no different. When we settle for less, we settle for the safety of the shore. When we resolve to never settle, we might as well recognize that the sharks are coming.
The Hindus believing in reincarnation are not in a hurry, as they believe they have many lives to get things done, which is in contrast to the ancient Greeks, who believed that each person had only one life and, because of this, had a greater sense of urgency. When you have only one life, you have a greater sense of determination and even desperation to accomplish something meaningful.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 18). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 17-18). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 17). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 17). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 13). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Seeing the contrast between these two worldviews helps me understand the power of the Hebraic mind-set. At the intersection of Western and Eastern worldviews, the Hebrews were compelled by both the one and the infinite. We each have one life, but this life has eternal significance. What we do in this one life has infinite implications, and beyond that, our stories are bigger than history. Our stories don’t end when we do. They are only the beginning of much greater stories, the content of which we are completely unaware.
If 9/11 taught me anything, it was to do what must be done, to say what must be said, to write the words that must be written, and to live the life that must be lived. Time seduces us into believing that it is the one friend who will never run out on us, but the cruel truth is that it always does. It tricks us into believing that we can wait until tomorrow to do the thing we should have done yesterday. And while I find an endless number of reasons why people leave things in this life undone, I find one unifying characteristic of those who leave nothing for the next life: a sense of urgency.
THE POWER OF NOW
Urgency can be fueled by many things: passion, conviction, even compassion. But often I find that urgency, in its rawest form, is fueled by desperation. The shift that happens when you refuse to remain or be defined by the average comes when you cross a line others would consider madness. While everyone around you says it can wait, you know it can’t.
I find that we are often more comfortable speaking about passion than about urgency, but it is urgency that gives our passions deadlines. Passion is about what fuels us; urgency is about how much it matters right now. The most important things in life rarely come with urgency. It may seem counterintuitive, but the most important things in life are most easily pushed to the back burner. The urgent is rarely the most important; but the most important must always be the most urgent. The most important things in life require that you bring your own urgency. Passion is the fuel that brings urgency.
I can remember the moment God really revealed His call, His plan for my life. That He had called me to preach. I was scared. I didn’t want to preach. I was working third shift and each day exactly at noon, I would awaken out of a dream of me preaching and He would begin to deal with my heart. After surrendering to the call to preach, I preached for many years until I felt that same tug, that pull again in my spirit. It’s when God was calling me to pastor this church. I tried to dodge it, to get around it, but I knew deep inside what His will was.
I believe everyone has that moment in life when we mature to a point that we realize that there is more to life. There’s something I am missing out on. There’s something missing, something’s not right. I have this and I have that but still I am not completely happy. It’s because God created us for more. He created us for Him and His desire is that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.
Life, to be alive. To strive for the best God has to offer.
John 10:42 KJV 1900
And many believed on him there.
Luke 10:42 KJV 1900
But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.
Where one in my life there was no hope, but He has brought new life. Where folks said I couldn’t, He has enabled me to accomplish whatever I set my mind to. He has placed a desire in me to be the best I can be. If I am a pastor, be the best pastor I can, the best father I can, the best husband I can, everything I do, I want to give my all and be the best I can. I don’t want to just get by, I want to know what living in abundance feels like. The abundance of His love, His grace and mercy, and His blessings. If I stayed on my knees day and night, I couldn’t thank Him enough!
To believe that God can do anything and never give up hope.
The great tragedy that I have witnessed over and over again is that we keep underestimating how much God wants to do in us and through us. Too many of us have believed the lies we have been told: that we’re not good enough, we’re not smart enough, we’re not talented enough, we’re just not enough. One of the facets of God that makes him extraordinary is his ability to do the impossible through ordinary, everyday, common people like you and me.
he Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 26). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 26). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 28). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 25-26). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 26). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 25). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 17). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 20). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
God has gifted you, called you, and anointed you to a life of abundance. A life of extraordinary. Not average, not good, but overflowing in abundance. Many will say “I know I need to settle down and get my life straight. Only God can heal, fill in the missing pieces of your life. You know God is after you but we keep running. He’s not after you to take something from you, He’s wants to give you something. To abandon your life for His abundant life.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 19). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
This message has one intention: that whether you win or lose, succeed or fail, live a life of celebrity or anonymity, that when you take your last breath, you will know without reservation that you have given everything you have, everything you are, to the life you have been entrusted with.
Matthew 6:33 KJV 1900
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Psalm 16:11 KJV 1900
Thou wilt shew me the path of life: In thy presence is fulness of joy; At thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.
Galatians 2:20 KJV 1900
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV 1900
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Is it possible that failure is simply the result of giving up too soon? Is it possible that our most tragic failure is giving up on ourselves?
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 28-29). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Is it possible that failure is simply the result of giving up too soon? Is it possible that our most tragic failure is giving up on ourselves?
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 29). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
This is the paradox of our spiritual journeys. When we put our complete trust in God, it places upon us greater responsibility, not less. Even when the victory is the Lord’s, we are still called to be the warriors in the midst of the battle.
Maybe all God is looking for was someone who wouldn’t quit. Maybe all he ever needs is someone who refuses to give up.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (pp. 29-30). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
McManus, Erwin Raphael. The Last Arrow: Save Nothing for the Next Life (p. 29). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
Is it possible that God is waiting to do more than we could ever ask or imagine and is looking throughout the earth for someone who refuses to settle? Maybe it’s time for you to quit running and embrace the life that only the Good Shepherd can give. You can’t take anything with you after you have taken your last breath. You have one life to use everything you have been entrusted with, so you might as well save nothing for the next life.
Psalm 31:19 KJV 1900
Oh how great is thy goodness, which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee; Which thou hast wrought for them that trust in thee Before the sons of men!
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