Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Here in the academic world, many of us would call ourselves "driven." Driven to succeed, to excel, to spend long hours in a dark, crowded library in the pursuit of knowledge, or, more likely, that ever-elusive "A" so valued by graduate school application committees. Most of us spend large parts of our day doing something we don't enjoy in order to achieve what we feel is expected of us, either by our parents, teachers or friends, or by our selves.

Basic responsibilities aside, most of us don't need to do these things to have a happy and fruitful life. Really, what will five points on a test mean to our children or our grandchildren? Will any of our efforts still be meaningful ten or twenty years down the road? Yet, I for one feel compelled to succeed, and quite a few of my friends feel the same way. Where does this need for success come from?

Most of us, as human beings, feel the need to create something. We are constantly re-ordering and influencing our environment. We set ourselves to solving problems, thinking about things beyond our personal experience, dreaming, wishing. This is what makes us human, what sets us apart from even the most intelligent animals. We are all driven to do.

As part of the Marsh Associate Intern program, I am asked to participate in intensive discernment of God's purpose for my life. Since I experienced the call to ministry, suddenly and intensely a year and a half ago, I've felt little uncertainty about what that purpose is. I am not claiming to have a direct phone line to God, although that would definitely be first on my list of super powers to possess. The reason that I'm certain of my direction is that I literally feel driven towards what I believe God wants me to do in my life, namely devote my life to ministry.

Ministry was not something I wanted to do. One of my many emotions on receiving a call to ministry was anger. I was angry at God for denying my own plans and wants, and instead telling me to do something I had never wanted, never asked for, and was terrified of. Fortunately that feeling was tempered by the thousands of others I was experiencing: joy, gratitude, love, purpose, etc. Today I am supremely happy to be going in to missions work. I know of nothing I would rather do, but it took a lot of tearful conversations both with God and trusted friends to reach that point.

Each and every one of us has a purpose in life. I'd like to think that the things that we are driven to do are one and the same with this purpose. What I do know is that God loves us more than we could ever understand and that He knows each of our purpose. So, don't begrudge time to your passions, what you feel your true purpose is, since:

we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

No comments:

Post a Comment