Our theme for this month: “The Gift of Being Yourself”
Our Bible verse for today: “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and to work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “It doesn’t have to be a job.”
Over the last several days I’ve told you a little about my personal story and how it was that I finally came to embrace my identity as the unique individual God created me to be. It turned out well for me. I get to spend my days doing something I truly love (being a pastor), and since our church is mission oriented, I still get to do some mission work too. It’s the best of both worlds for me. I sometimes joke when I’m handed my paycheck each month: “All this fun and they pay me too!” That’s why at 65 I chose to continue working rather than retiring. Someone once told me “Find something you love to do and then figure out how you can get paid for doing it.” Well, I have.
But the whole idea of discovering how God has wired you and then applying yourself to those activities doesn’t necessarily have to take the form of a job. Sometimes that’s not even possible. I’m in a pretty sweet situation now, but for many years of my life I simply had to earn a living so I could support my family. That’s true for many of you right now. Therefore for right now you might need to work at a job that’s not really what you want to be doing, and pursue your passion in your off hours. Or perhaps you’re retired and you don’t need to have a job at all. You can still search your heart, discover the things you truly love and for which God has especially designed you, and then apply yourself to those things.
After President George W. Bush left his job as President of the United States and went into retirement he looked deep, did some soul searching, and realized that he had always wanted to be an artist, creating art by painting pictures. So he took some lessons and discovered that he was actually pretty good at it. Since then his art has been featured in art galleries and on television shows, and he often gives away his paintings as special gifts to wounded warriors.
My wife Linda is in the retirement years too. She has a love for working with children and for arts and crafts. She has combined those two passions and now she spends much of her time designing and creating Christian-themed arts and crafts for children. She also plans and leads our Children’s Church and she orders, organizes, and sends large supplies of children’s crafts with me on my mission trips. Beginning in September she will also once again be serving as a Children’s Sunday school teacher.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 the Apostle Paul describes for us a simple and quiet life that is spent engaged in worthwhile activities that make a meaningful difference. Discovering how God has wired you, and then pursuing those activities, doesn’t necessarily need to take the form of a job. It simply means that you have discovered the activities that really bring you joy and a sense of fulfillment, and you are applying yourself to them for the glory of God and for the benefit of others.