Are you envisioning your life story to be a fifteen minute grab for fame or an eventual biography of God-honoring service?
A sense and understanding of your calling can give you a story line towards fruitfulness and fulfillment that is often missing in today’s fragmented world. The information overload of social media, the impact of modern pluralism plus economic and personal mobility contributes to confusion and alienation. I know from talking with alumni of mine that moving away from their parents and extended family and friends, while often professionally lucrative, does yield a loneliness that is difficult to escape and deal with.
Consider my parents who have lived in the same house on the east side of Detroit for almost 55 years, while my wife and I have lived in houses in five cities in three different states. Some of the neighbors they moved into the old neighborhood with are still around, not to mention friends they have made throughout their lifetimes. My dad shoots pool with some guys he has known for decades. My mom still sees and talks with friends from high school in the metro Detroit area.
By contrast, I have lived in several places, had several jobs, known many people for shorter periods of time, and often feel less linked to friends of my youth, family and relatives, due to the calling on my life to be a missionary representative of Jesus. I am not complaining, but having moved around so much it is hard to make sense of it all at times. Having lived the past thirty-six years away from my roots, I do feel disconnected from the first twenty years of my life in Detroit, but I realize it is not a jumbled set of experiences.
I have to remind myself that followers of Christ are referred to as “citizens of another place” and we are not the first mobile travelers. The reality is there have always been nomads and their calling gave them meaning. Father Abraham who left his home at God’s call for a place he had never seen or been to. Moses later led the people of God through a challenging desert with a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. Over the course of forty years they were dependent on the Lord for direction, meaning, and provision. They could not rely on their foresight, cunning, or their ability to figure out how to get from Egypt to the Promised Land. They were on their way to the land of promise, not really realizing God was leading them to fulfill their national and global calling. Ultimately Israel came to understand the Lord was trustworthy because His word was the promise and call they needed.
Read 1 Thessalonians 5:24.
Has anything really changed? We are all nomads again and again. We may live in one town a long time or switch colleges after a short stay. We may be employed after graduation and be paid real well or switch careers and see our income rise and fall. Hopefully we’ll have mutually rewarding relationships more than we have thin and unsatisfying ones that disappoint us. But as followers of the risen Christ, none of these things really determines who we are and the meaning of our lives. What matters is if we follow the call of God on each of our lives.
Serve globally. Avoid the worldly temptation to be diverted from God’s call by a fragmented and overloaded life. Follow the call of Christ despite the chaos and uncertainty of modern life. Do not let the transient nature of the good derail you from what is best and eternal.
Love is a verb,
©2015 by Mike Olejarz