More than any other question, this is the one that dominates the conversations I have with 20-somethings. "What's my purpose?" "What am I on earth to do?" "What is my call?" However, it is my belief that your call is not "out there" but rather "right here". Here are a few thoughts on a Sunday to help guide you closer to your call.
1. Steward The Time God Allows You.
Time is the universal equalizer. No matter what background you came from, what education level you have, how privileged or not your family was, everyone is given the same hours in the day. I get asked sometimes how I can manage the life I have, or when I have time to do the things I do (be a mom, a preacher, a boss, a wife, a friend, a sister, a daughter, an author...). For a while I didn't really have an answer. I live my life similar to most people with lots of flaws and lots of failures.
One thing I could point to though, is I'm aggressive with my time.
"Teach us to number our days," The Psalmist writes, "So that we may apply our hearts with wisdom." - Psalm 90:12
The way we spend our minutes is the way we spend our days, the way we spend our days is the way we spend our years, and our years - the way we spend our lives. The Psalmist knows what few American's do - that the clock is ticking, and every moment matters. Numbering our days, and making the most of our moments will propel us more quickly into our callings. Choosing prayer over Netflix, writing over Snapchat, working hard over lazily passing hours, chatting with our spouses over zoning out in front of ESPN, sleeping restfully over reading WebMD. These small choices will lead to fuller minutes. And fuller minutes fuller days. Until we are living huge, full, and purposeful lifetimes.
2. Love The People God Places Around You.
We all have people in our lives that are difficult to love. They are rude, untrustworthy, hurtful or annoying. The New Testament throws a huge wrench in our self-protecting, people-avoiding desires, though. God is almost pushy about the way we are to treat people who are difficult to love:
"If you don't love well you don't know God." - 1 John 4:7-8 (My Translation)
"If someone mistreats you, let them - and give them the option to do it again." - Matthew 5:39 (My Translation)
"If someone is bold enough to ask for your favorite jacket, give them your favorite shoes, too." - Matthew 5:40 (My Translation)
"If you have a valid complaint against someone, don't rub it in their face, but forgive them." - Colossians 3:13 (My Translation)
"Love your brothers." - Hebrews 13:1 (My Translation)
"Try to out-love, out-serve, and out-honor everyone." - Romans 12:9-10 (My Translation)
"Love people. Love people. Love people." - 1 Corinthians 16:14 (My Translation)
God, in my opinion (and I'm just one of many), cares mostly about two things: His glory and His people. If you care for his people well, love them, be gracious to them, treat them with honor, you will be aligning yourself with the Kingdom's purposes. If you care for people who offend you, love those who hurt you, and lift up those who don't or can't life you up, you are doing the will of your Father. You will be one step closer to God's heart, and one step closer to his purposes.
3. Sweat In The Uniform God Gives You.
Most people are less than satisfied with the job, role, work suit or uniform God initially gives them. They would prefer a position with more status, more money, more authority and more respect. But if you read scripture, there is never a BIG call without some serious sweat. And the season of sweat is one with little status, little money, little authority and little respect. The greats of the faith that I value the most: Moses, David, Esther, Joseph, Elisha, Ruth, Joshua, Peter, Paul, and Timothy had large stretches of time of sweating in clothes that weren't king's robes, leader's shoes, queen's gowns, prophet coverings, or preacher's suits. For decades they worked hard, they sweat, they toiled, in the season God gave them. They did it with faithfulness, joy, and fortitude.
And because of that, by the time they put on the king's robes or preacher's suits, they had sweat out all of their selfish ambition, their pride, and their fleshly tendencies. Work what God gives you, and God will make the sweat worth it.
4. Give The Money God Loans You.
Contrary to popular belief, God LOVES to bless his kids. But also contrary to popular belief, God blesses his kids so that they can bless others. This lesson came late for me, as Jon and I really started giving and giving big a few years into our marriage. When people are worried about their life, their future, their goals, I always ask them if they tithe. Not, "do you give the homeless guy $5?", although that's amazing. Not, "do you sometimes give when you feel like it?". But do you consistently give a tithe (a percentage) of your money to a house of God? It's amazing how not having your money under God's authority can lead to a place of distrust, confusion or lack of direction.
God promises that when we give, and when we refresh others, we ourselves are refreshed. Moreover, obedience with our money shows God that we're ready for the big leagues, that he can trust us to be faithful and giving with more, because we have been faithful and giving with the present.
5. Walk By The Spirit God Put Inside You.
When life gets hard, or the path that God has you on seems stagnant, its important to remember what God has placed in you. "Greater is he that is in you than he who is in the world," writes John. Because of this, we overcome. Every time. But walking by the Spirit is a choice, and stewarding your heart so that you walk by the Spirit and not after the flesh is of utmost importance. This means choosing the fruits of the Spirit in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, self-control, long-suffering, and faithfulness. And it means avoiding fruits of the flesh: conceit, anger, envy, malice, provocation, dissension, factions, jealousy, and selfish ambition.
God gives us the Spirit of Christ. But it is up to us to walk by it. In walking by the Spirit God promises peace, forward motion, blessing and protection.
Today may you steward ALL that God has given you. And may you be that much closer to ALL he has called you to.