Manning Pastor Sam Livingston: The next chapter


The average book is broken up into chapters. Each chapter somehow corresponds to the preceding chapter. The book is not a book unless the reader can put all of the pieces together after needling through all of the chapters. Some of the best authors spend long hours, months and even years producing books that capture the imagination of their readers. While most books have 5 to 20 chapters, some books have more than 20 chapters. It all depends on what works for the author and his intended audience.

Life is a lot like the chapters in a book. If we read the last two chapters in a book, we will find out how the story ends, but we will lose the main points of the story. Everything that happens to us in life is building up to the grand finale. In reading some books, it is easy to get to a point that doesn't make any sense at all. The suspense built into the story is the drawing card. If you knew the end of the story in the beginning, the book would hardly ever get read entirely. Nobody complains about the length of a good book, except lazy people. The viewership is all based on the author's ability to build the story chapter by chapter.

When life is compared to the chapter in a book, we should first start with the author. The authorship, however, is two parts in nature for human beings. The writer of Hebrews puts it this way. "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God," Hebrews 12:2.

Jesus is the undisputed author of our faith. He wants to be the primary faith builder in our lives. Our level of faith has a direct correlation to the contents of this book called life for all humans. Our chapters can be full of excitement because we know how the story should end based on our relationship with Jesus. Or, the story could be based on theory, luck or trial and error. The Apostle Paul said it best, "Do we begin again to commend ourselves? Or need we, as some others, epistles of commendation to you, or letters of commendation from you? Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart," 2 Corinthians 3:1-3. Paul's letter to the Corinthians expressed that they were letters read by all men. This translated into, they were small chapters written by the spirit of the living God.

If the spirit of God is writing our chapters, all we have to do is hold the writing document in our hand and watch what unfolds. The Lord is the author and finisher of our faith who writes the narrative of our lives. Simply put, if we act the fool, he writes foolish narratives for us. If we try to live according to his commands and statutes, we travel through life with angelic company. Your life is prerecorded, but you can erase it and begin to write it your way.

How will your story end? Will it be the results of a reckless life, or will your legacy speak volumes long after you are gone?

Genesis 50:25: "And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying, God will surely visit you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence."

Joseph's final chapter was a prophetic word for the children of Israel that the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob will bring the people out from Egyptian bondage. He also made a covenant with them not to leave his bones in Egypt. Joseph's final chapter was carried over to the lives of thousands when his words were manifested.

The finale of our book should ignite another chapter for the people we touched.

What's your next chapter?

Sam Livingston is pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church in Manning.