Sometime after we have started school, grandparents, godparents, aunts and uncles will begin to ask, “What are you going to be when you grow up?” As we grow the answers usually change. Some of us from an early age have a passion for a certain vocation. Some graduate from high school, maybe even receive scholarships, and enter college without a definitive goal in their minds.
Maybe the decision for “what to be” is based on financial security. Maybe it is based on family tradition and expectations. Some make their vocation decision based on the passion they have for a skill or gift. Christians often describe this as the “call” that God has put out to them.
What questions come to mind after 10 years of doing this vocation? 20 years? 30 years? Is there personal satisfaction? Is there any appreciation offered from supervisors or co-workers? From family and friends? Does anyone care about what you do or how much effort you have put into your duties? Are people with integrity rewarded measurably more than others who do only enough to get a “satisfactory” evaluation?
And when the final years of life become today’s moments, is there a feeling of accomplishment? Is there a knowledge that a legacy has been passed on to family and friends? To the world in general? Should the realization of legacy be assessed before now?
I do not believe there is one person out there who wants to die alone and unknown. While we may not have an obsession for applause, we do want to know in our hearts, in our spirits that our life has mattered. And so how do we identify a life like that and live such a life like that?
There are many names mentioned once in the Bible and then are never uttered again.
Tychicus, the dear brother and faithful servant in the Lord, will tell you everything, so that you also may know how I am and what I am doing. I am sending him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage you. Ephesians 6:22-23 (NIV)
It would seem that Paul is saying in this passage that without Tychicus, the church at Ephesus would not have had an important communication from Paul and would not have received such encouragement. And in that time, with so much persecution, encouragement did not come often but was needed as much as bread and water. There was only one Paul but there were more, like Tychicus, who were the carriers of letters and distributors of Paul’s words all over the known world. Letters, painstakingly copied by hand and carried, with the danger of death if found to be a carrier of insurrection, from one church to another, all through time. Even today, we have men and women, unknown, who have made it their life’s work to translate the Bible into languages of people. We in the West take the availability of Bibles in many translations for granted! In some countries, those who quietly, secretly bring in Bibles and give Bibles are imprisoned, tortured, even killed. They die, anonymously.
And so as I meditate on the original question: What to do with my life? I am struck that I want to make a difference in this world but I am not looking so much for applause. The applause of people is brief and fickle. I am beginning to understand that if I quietly make a difference in one person’s life, the result will make a difference in an unknown quantity of people. It is the giving of one gift, even something as easy but most valuable as time, that has the ability to change everything in a person’s life.
Before I begin to think this is an easy action, I must consider why most people never achieve this moment in time.
* Some will never do the unknown things because their desire for applause is too strong. Can I understand that doing something kind or merciful or gracious for someone in itself is enough? Can I understand that Father God sees my life, including the secrets in my heart and spirit, and sees in those moments hidden from the world’s eyes and is pleased with my choice?
* Some will spend their lives looking for the BIG thing and miss the opportunities to do the secret thing that is vital for someone! Have you ever seen someone, maybe you even know them, but a voice in your spirit says, “They are hurting. They need an unexpected blessing. Do ________________.” Will fear of doing ‘wrong’ crush an opportunity to maybe do something right?
And here at the end, I share with you that to learn and know what, when, who and how to do something extraordinary in our lifetime is accomplished by spending time talking to God. Yes, that is simple but it is often pushed down on our daily list of priorities, isn’t it? We cannot have the assurance of the Creator of the universe if we do not spend time with Him and learn His character. He wants to spend time with us; direct us on right paths in our life. He wants to use us to bless others. I make time for things that I believe to be important. Is how I spend my life important?