For far too many Christians, “ugh” accurately captures their take on how they spend most of their time. It’s as if they keep the freeing impact of the gospel on their life calling locked away somewhere — in The Salvation Box — so that they never truly know abundant living.
Call it work, call it career, call it a job — whatever you call it, many people would prefer not to answer the call at all. Instead, they endure existence reluctantly, longing for the weekend or some escape activity to distract from what would otherwise be a mind-blowingly frustrating existence.
Occasionally, on a good week, their lives of “quiet desperation” might rise to the level of “Meh.” Usually during “sweeps week.” And then it’s back to Ugh. Or worse.
So This Is Why Jesus Came?
Is this what Jesus meant when he said, “I have come that you might have life, and that more abundantly?” Meh?
When I think of something being abundant, I think of when my kids pour too much milk into a cup. It doesn’t stay there. It overflows all over the counter, into the drawers, onto the floor — everywhere it can go. Jesus describes the life He came to give as being the same way — just without the messy clean-up. The kind of life He came to free us to live is one that is so full of satisfaction, strength, and goodness that it can’t help but overflow onto the world around us. Abundant.
We often disconnect our life calling from abundant living. We think of the gospel as touching that stuff we keep in The Salvation Box — under our mattress. We’ve unplugged from the reason for our existence and focused instead on our means of survival. We mistakenly replace calling for a career to justify our faithless lack of intentional living. Or so we think.
We all too easily forget that every good and perfect gift comes from above — even our paycheck, food, and the shelter we so fear losing. Funny thing is, the lilies of the field have the same problem we do. Only they daily fulfill their life calling, while we often run from ours.
Only One You
Shouldn’t each of us want to be able to stand up and cry out as unique creations:
- This is what I was made for!
- When I do __________ I feel the very pleasure of God!
- I know that the world is getting my very best when I am doing ____________.
- I am making my most meaningful contribution to the body of Christ when I am serving like this ______________.
- This is who I am! This is why I am here!!
OK. You can get down off your chair now.
What Do You Want on Your Tombstone?
But seriously, wouldn’t you rather find your life calling and live an abundant life than be known for living just to get a paycheck? Consider that visual for a moment. How many tombstones should read, “Here lies John Doe. And here’s the paycheck he lived for.” Or “Here lies Jane Doe. She was almost ready to live an abundant life.” Oh, and they claimed to have found new life in Christ. Whatever that means.Who would want to settle for existence when we could pursue a life calling that results in abundant living? Apparently, a lot of people. The fact is that we can coast our way to the former. The latter takes significant effort. The former path is broad; the latter, narrow. The former way gives us some level of immediate gratification; the latter can take years to pay off financially.
The latter route will be painful at times. It will cost us something to embrace it. But so will settling. We just won’t get the bill until it’s too late to pay.
The question is not will you use this brief moment on life’s stage to define your legacy. The question is how will you use it? By answering the tough questions about your life calling — and then summoning the courage and faith to act — you can choose who you will be. Or you can put it off until tomorrow. Again.
So get out The Salvation Box from under your mattress — you have to admit that it’s been kind of lumpy anyways — and smash it open. Let it overflow onto every area of your life and drive you to find and fulfill your life calling. Go ahead and do it now. We’ll wait here.
An abundant life is waiting, one that can be lived only by you. For more help, see my posts Should the Church Help You Find Your Life Calling?, 5 Resources to Discover Your Strengths and Life Purpose, Five Questions to Know God’s Will for Your Life, or my Interview with Brad Lomenick, Catalyst CEO: The Catalyst Leader and Calling.
What about your life calling? Do you know it and let it flow abundantly out of you, or do you tend to keep it locked in The Salvation Box? Leave a comment to help us all live with more abundant faith.