Where is the path in your life headed?
And who is at the center of your sights?

When someone asks who your favorite Bible character is, everyone has a different answer. Maybe it’s a character from your flannel graphs in Sunday School, or that story rehashed by your Mother in your youth. Mine comes from a verse on the back of a Wrangler t-shirt. (Now you’re either laughing or I’ve got your attention)

But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded. — 2 Chronicles 15:7

I often get a funny look when someone asks what one of my favorite verses or characters may be and I respond with something from the Old Testament. But ole King Asa, his story is something that gives me strength. (2 Chronicles 14-16) Not that I’ve gone to worshiping Asherah poles, but there are plenty of modern day idols out there.

Asa was King of Judah. His reign had it’s ups and downs, both a reflection of where his life was centered. When he lived a God-centered life, times were good, God watched over him, he was rewarded, and Judah was at peace. When things got to going good, Asa allowed his life to become Self-centered, he began reveling in riches and the glory of his Kingdom, and things took a turn for the worse. All a reflection of where Asa had his sights set.

For me, it’s pretty easy to do the same. When things are going good, I’m making money, and life and work are going good, it’s easier to set God aside and relish the moment. But the moment things turn for the worse, it’s just as easy to start laying blame and fall off the path set for me. This is what I’d call a Self-centered life.

If I let God be the center of my life – going to Him for guidance, studying His instructions for me, thanking Him for the good things in life and looking for guidance when things get rough – I’ll find myself on the straight and narrow. Things will go well, and when they don’t I’ll have that guardrail to keep me on the right path.

Let me give an example. Ranch work doesn’t exactly lend itself to convenience to the world’s schedule. The ranch isn’t exactly in town, and it’s pretty easy to come up with excuses for missing events with the church. Calving season sure puts me to a stretch, one thing goes awry on Sunday morning, and I miss services. My horse goes lame, there goes Sunday night’s meeting. Mid-week meetings are easily skipped by claiming “it’s just been a long, hard day at work and I’m too worn out to make the drive to town.” It’s alright, but I’m missing out on fellowship and encouragement I get from fellow Christians. I’ve still got my Bible reading at home and the landscape of God’s creation on the ranch keeps me in touch. Then I start slipping on my Bible readings because watching television makes for less work. Before ya know it, I’m all bent out of shape. I’m living the self-centered life, because it’s easier, whether I admit it to myself or not.

It’d be quite a shame to end up like that. Ranch life is the perfect way to live among God’s creation, honor Him by caring for the land and the livestock, and being a Christian example for those around us. How ever isolated ranch life may seem, there are still those around us that notice how we are living. Now I’m not telling you that being a Christian means making every meeting with the church family, or reading your Bible every day, or giving everything to the poor. If you make God the center of your life, those things necessary will come naturally. Being a Christian is giving thanks to God for the gifts in your life, living on the path He has set for us, and giving respect to those around us, letting His light shine through our actions. You’ll have a desire to study God’s word and talk with other’s about His gifts in your life.

I know I’m working on it. Every time I feel down in the dumps, like I’m slipping off the road, or like my sights have wondered off the path, I keep in mind King Asa. He was a man who lived for God, let his sights wonder, and God still took him back after he’d fallen off the path. But as for you, be strong and do not give up, for your work will be rewarded.