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What Are You Doing Here?
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Have you ever run into someone in an unusual place and said, “What are you doing here?”? Or has someone said the same thing to you when you showed up in an unexpected place? The implication is that the person is in a location incongruous with his or her personality or character or normal activities.
Maybe you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’ve said, “What am I doing here?” You’re wondering how you got into either a terrible mess or a dream come true.
King David had the latter experience when he found himself King of Israel. Before he became king, he was given King Saul’s daughter in marriage, “But David said to Saul, ‘Who am I, and what is my family or my father's clan in Israel, that I should become the king's son-in-law?’” (1 Samuel 18:18). When God established His promises to him, “Then King David went in and sat before the LORD, and he said: ‘Who am I, O Sovereign LORD, and what is my family, that you have brought me this far?’” (2 Samuel 7:18). David could not believe that God would exalt him, a humble shepherd boy, to such a position. He said, “What am I doing here?”
Anyone who has humbly received and contemplated God’s grace has to ask the same question, mindful that God allows us to live at all. “He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him” (Psalm 103:10, 11). “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We deserve the loss of everything, including our lives, because of our sin, but God in grace and mercy gives us eternal life. When we reach heaven by death or rapture, we can only say, “What am I doing here?”
There is, of course, no room for boasting. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast” (Ephesians 2:8, 9). No one will brag in heaven as if he or she deserves to be there. The entrance requirement is not good works, being a good person, not being a really bad person, being a “Christian,” “Jew,” “Buddhist,” man, woman, benefactor, beauty queen, or even a kind, white-haired grandmother. The entrance to eternal life is Christ: “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture” (John 10:9, NKJV).
Believers need to be careful about judging others. One’s outward appearance does not always indicate the state of his heart. There are a lot of people who don’t talk and act and look like we think they should, but they have Christ in their hearts. We may see them in heaven and say, “What are you doing here?” Who knows—they may say the same to us! We need to live a life that models Christ so we don’t surprise anyone on those golden streets. We need to avoid places and situations that are incongruous with our new lives, so people won’t be shocked by seeing us say and do things we shouldn’t.
While on this earth, we as believers especially need to ask ourselves, “What am I doing here?” It’s only when one comes to Christ that one understands the meaning and purpose of life—and death—and life again. We have been given work to do: “For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do” (Ephesians 2:10). We are not saved to just sit around basking in the glow of salvation—we are to “work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12, 13). God has a plan for all of us, and it’s good to examine our lives to make sure we’re living up to His purpose.
If we are obedient, we will be where God wants us to be, even when things look bleak. When the Jews in Queen Esther’s day were about to be destroyed—and she couldn’t hide her Jewish identity—Mordecai said, “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father's family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14). The queen must have thought, “What am I doing here,”, and Mordecai told her. Her purpose was to save the Jews.
In the parable of the uninvited wedding guest, Jesus asks the unbeliever, “‘Friend . . . how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. ‘Then the king told the attendants, “Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth”’” (Matthew 22:12, 13). “What are you doing here?”
Perhaps once a day, it would be good to ask, “What am I doing here?” Let’s make sure the answer is, “God’s will.”
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10 May 2009
Wonderful article oozing with wisdom. Gandhi could have been a Christian if the church he went to the first time did not have this "What-are-you-doing-here attitude" and maybe
this is what turns a lot of unbelievers off. I always am reminded of the verse, where God dwells - "I live in a high and lofty place, but also with him who is lowly and contrite of spirit."
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