Let Your Life Speak
This past weekend we kicked off a brand new series for a brand new year we're calling Every Good Endeavor, a title we've borrowed from Pastor Timothy Keller's book of the same name. After spending some time working through the weekly study guide with my small group, as well as thinking thinking together through Genesis 1.26-2.3 during our worship gatherings, I can readily admit: "My perspective on work has already changed!"
Just ask my better half: Yesterday evening, after returning home (one of the "Gardens" God has blessed me with) from the office (another "Garden"), I found joy both in preparing dinner (not something I'm particularly gifted in!) and in cleaning up afterward (something I can do, but don't usually find much joy in!).
I've had the pleasure of communicating a few members of our community about the Gardens in which they are called to serve, areas that are not vacation, but vocation. One retired gentleman joked on the patio, "Oh, I have a calling. It's my 'Honey Do' list. You know, when my better half says, 'Honey can you do this?' and 'Honey can you do that?'"
Another dropped by the office on Monday to share a quote from Bengali poet Rabindranath Tagore, as quoted in Anne Lamott's latest book on prayer, Help. Thanks. Wow.: "I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy."
Another e-mailed this story: "On the occasion of my parents 60th wedding anniversary, all of the kids were home. We were all introduced and our Vocations were mentioned. My brother was introduced as a pastor, my sister as pastor's wife and a partner in his ministry, and I as a RN nurse educator. A short time later one of the attendees came up to Mother and said, 'You must be so proud that two of your children are in full time Christian Service.' My mother did not miss a beat, but responded, 'No I am proud that all three of my children are in full time Christian Service, two in the church, yes, but the third serves the Lord everyday as she ministers to the sick and teaches the next generation of nurses to do the same."
Another conversation happened around a backyard campfire following a bowl game, engaging the difference between occupation and vocation, and the difficulty that those two are not always the same. If you find yourself thinking through those questions, including what you may be called to, I would recommend the book Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation by Parker Palmer. Written from within the Quaker tradition, this classic book on vocation engages what it means to be created for a specific purpose.
Early in the book, Palmer writes, "Vocation does not mean a goal that I pursue. It means a calling that I hear. Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I must listen to my life telling me who I am. I must listen for the truths and values at the heart of my own identity." Indeed, this God given calling exists for each one of us! God has created us for a purpose - to be Gardeners, tilling and working that which God calls us to.
May we quiet ourselves enough to hear God's voice.
As always, I, Paul, or Jim - as well as other Good Shepherd leaders - would be honored to talk with you about God's call on your life, what that looks like, how God reveals that to us, and how we can best live into it! Feel free to contact us!
Grace and Peace be with you,