Bob Buford had amassed great wealth, assets, and a very comfortable lifestyle for himself and his family. He was a Christian man, president and chairman of his Christian cable company and had everything material one could hope to achieve. However Bob Buford had a void in his life.
One evening, as he puts it, “like a thief in the night,” his peaceful and comfortable existence was disrupted. His peace was gone, his heart was stirring within him, and Bob began to question the direction and purpose for his life. As a result of this “awakening”, Bob hired an outside strategic business consultant to aid him in the stresses, plans, and future of his company.
Instead of some elaborate presentation with charts, graphs and power point; the high priced consultant took a simple legal pad and drew a box in the center. The question that followed was one that changed Bob Buford’s life forever. “What’s in the box?” What was the one treasure that Bob had, held dear, and cherished? For him to find the direction and purpose he longed for, Bob had to answer with just one object, one thing that would be the central focus of every decision he made from here on out.
After two hours of listening to Bob reason with himself, the consultant brought him back to the box. He then stated, “Bob, you must choose. For you, it’s either the almighty $, or it is Jesus Christ!” As Bob recalls. “He then instructed me to draw a symbol inside the box that represented my life’s central passion. One symbol. One passion. I had to choose.”
“Two big things were competing for my primary loyalty, and in order for me to live a life of purpose I had to choose between them. A dollar sign or a cross. My consultant was telling me to choose God or wealth!” Bob then reached for his pen, and inside that little box in the middle of that legal pad, Bob drew his Cross! That day Bob Buford made it clear in his own heart that his purpose was Jesus Christ, and the Lord blessed him for it.
In 2 Timothy 4, we see a list of a few men that was part of the Apostle Paul’s ministry. There are three that stand out to me in particularly:
The Bible says that Demas had forsaken Paul in a time of need because the present world was more important to him. For Demas, what was in the box was himself; his desires, and his will. We now look in the pages of God’s word, and forever Demas will be remembered as having forsaken Paul for temporal pleasure, and we may even judge. However, each and everyday, are we not forced with the same temptation to choose our careers, our family life, our mortgages, our cars, and our luxuries over Jesus Christ? Many Christians today have made the choice, that for them, their symbol written in the box is also “self”.
The next name I want to bring to mind is Luke. Paul says, “only Luke is with me!” Wow! What an amazing testimony of a Christ centered life! Paul was in prison; Luke was right beside him. Paul was penning his last words; Luke was with him. You see for Luke, the choice was made clear, the line had been drawn; Christ was in the box!
Last, but not least, Mark is mentioned. Paul tells Timothy to bring him with him when he comes. Why? Because Mark is profitable to the ministry. This is exciting! In Acts 13, Mark had abandoned Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey and returned home. In Acts 15, Paul and Barnabas are preparing to revisit the churches from their first journey, and Barnabas decides to take Mark. Paul refuses because of Mark leaving them the first time, so Barnabas takes Mark, and Paul takes Silas, and they go their separate ways. The Bible doesn’t say, but at some point in the time that Barnabas spent with Mark, teaching, training, and mentoring him; Mark makes a decision. What may have been at one point “self” in Mark’s box, was now taken out, and replaced with the Cross!
This gives me great hope! It is not too late! It’s possible as you are even reading this blog, that the Lord is dealing with your heart. For years, self, money, career, whatever it may be, has taken up residence in your “box.” Will you choose now to replace yourself, with Christ! Allow Jesus to be your purpose. Allow Jesus to center every decision, and every aspect of your life. A life of purpose begins with your decision to serve the God of Heaven with your life. You see, when Mark made that decision to replace self with Christ; later we see written in the scriptures; Mark was profitable to Paul for the ministry!
Bob, what is in YOUR box?