This article, What Should I do With My Life?, from Fast Company, about discovering and pursuing your gift/purpose/path makes some interesting points. The author interviewed 900 people and spent a lot of time with 70 of those to try and learn how people get to the point where they are walking in their "calling." He includes some of their stories. Very interesting. Hat tip to: Matt Constantine
And this is where the second big insight came in: Your calling isn't something you inherently "know," some kind of destiny. Far from it. Almost all of the people I interviewed found their calling after great difficulty. They had made mistakes before getting it right…
Most of us don't get epiphanies. We only get a whisper -- a faint urge. That's it. That's the call. It's up to you to do the work of discovery, to connect it to an answer.
I think this is pretty accurate but I would describe it differently. Sometimes Christians convince themselves that if God would just tell them what He wanted them to do, they would do it. They spend a lot of time trying to get God to speak to them, to tell them his purpose for their life, secretly hoping he never does. God wants you to know your purpose and I believe most Christians know, in the quiet of their hearts, what God wants them to do, they just don't have the courage to do it. God is calling us to the great adventure, but most of us would rather stay in Hobbiton. Even if that means staying in a job we hate and living only to pay bills and to produce a nice meal for the worms who will one day feast on us. The problem isn't lack of insight its lack of courage or confidence or … faith.
The article continues with the principles the author discovered.
MONEY Doesn't Fund Dreams
Shouldn't I make money first -- to fund my dream? The notion that there's an order to your working life is an almost classic assumption: Pay your dues, and then tend to your dream. I expected to find numerous examples of the truth of this path. But I didn't find any.
… Put your calling in a lockbox, go out and make a ton of money, and then come back to the lockbox to pick up your calling where you left it.
It turns out that having the financial independence to walk away rarely triggers people to do just that. The reality is, making money is such hard work that it changes you. It takes twice as long as anyone plans for. It requires more sacrifices than anyone expects. You become so emotionally invested in that world -- and psychologically adapted to it -- that you don't really want to ditch it.
That's what Jesus said too:
Mat. 6:24 No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.
That's the decision you have to make: Are you going to spend your life serving God or serving mammon? For most Christians the answer is mammon. Why? Because they don't love God enough? No. For some it's because they have been poorly taught and therefore don't have much confidence in God taking care of their material needs. Others know that God has promised to take care of their material needs but don't have the courage of their convictions.
Sometimes people will attack our church saying we are "prosperity preachers." (I'm always thinking, as opposed to what? Poverty preachers.) And we are prosperity preachers. One of the main reasons we preach prosperity is for the same reason Jesus preached prosperity here in Matthew chapter 6; because it's God's promise to provide for our material needs which frees us to serve God instead of money.
Here's the outline of my favorite prosperity sermon based on Matthew 6:24:
- Jesus tells us we can't serve God and mammon.
- Next he tells us how to do this:
Matthew 6:25 Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
The phrase, "take no thought" means to not be anxious or worried. Don't be anxious or worried about what? About your material needs. Most Christians
stop here and conclude that Jesus means we're not supposed to have anything.
- But Jesus doesn't stop here. In the next 5 verses he tells us that we don't have to be anxious for our material needs because God will provide all our material needs abundantly.
Matthew 6:26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? 27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
O ye of little faith. They didn't have confidence that God would take care of their material needs, this is what kept them from serving God and kept them serving mammon.
- Then Jesus sums up this entire prosperity sermon:
Matthew 6:31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? 32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. 33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
I think the translation of Matt. 6:33 offered by Father Richard Thomas in the forward to Frankovic's "The Kingdom of God" is most accurate:
Seek first God's redemptive agenda…
If you'll make your primary purpose the redemptive agenda of God he will take care of your material needs.
Meanwhile back at the article, What Should I do With My Life? …well just read the rest, I've got work to do.