What are you made for?
Not from a theoretical or even theological standpoint, but literally. What has God built you to do?
This is different from, “What has God called you to do?” That was made clear in 1647 by the Westminster Catechism, “Our chief end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.” Even earlier with the “Golden Rule,” “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Math. 7) You can even go to Jesus Himself for an answer in Matthew 22, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all my heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.”
Everyone is looking for God’s will for their life. It is clearly found in catechisms, Golden Rules, and the words of Christ. Yet, how are we to live that out? What are we made to do?
Joy is found in your work when you find yourself working in what you were made to do. When your job fits your build there is boundless joy.
Last week I referenced the 1981 song, “Working for the Weekend.” I have another 1981 reference this week. There must be something special about that year.
The 1981 Oscar for best picture went to “Chariots of Fire.” It is the story of Eric Liddle training for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric was a missionary kid born in China and he is committed to Christ. His event at the Olympics was scheduled for Sunday, the sabbath. In addition, his training is delaying his return to the mission field. Eric needs to convince his fiancé Sybil that competing in the Olympics is God’s will. He says to her, “I believe God made me for a purpose…for China, but He also made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.”
Joy is found in your work when you “feel His pleasure.”
It is a tremendous blessing when you get to run in this way. Not everyone is able to fall into this stride.
I have a friend who loved basketball. He played whenever possible. It is how he “ran with God.” Unfortunately, he was not good enough to play basketball professionally. He was newly married, children were on the way, and he had to make a life. He was not built to coach and administrate the game. He enjoyed the play. So how was he to find joy at work?
He took a job for a large health insurance company. They cared about health, so they had a basketball gym at the office. Employees were encouraged to stay active. He would play basketball whenever he could, and it gave him immense joy at his work. That is a 30-year-old story. While his body will not let him play as much basketball today, he has found such joy in that job that he is still with that company to this day.
What are you made to do?
This is such an important question that people spend thousands of dollars and days in retreat searching for answers. Speakers and coaches will motivate them to search their pain. These speakers travel the country with their talks. Without training in theology or counselling, they push into volatile areas of people’s personality and history. They share their own firsthand experiences, as if they are Gospel truth. People are pushed into their past their pain, hoping to hear an answer. For a handful of “subscribers,” wonderful things develop. For many, there are just fresh wounds to tender spots and, still, no answers. This is a circus without a net.
This is not a journey of pain or a venture into your hurts or even an examination of your weak spots. Spend that energy and money on a trained counsellor that will walk with you and provide answers.
When you are looking for what you are made to do, it is a journey into your joy. What has brought you extraordinary joy in life? It is a journey into your celebrations. When have your received awards or praise. It is journey into your strengths. Where have you excelled?
Journey into your Joy
Journey into your Celebrations
Journey into your Strengths
To find joy at work, operate, as much as possible, in those places that have brought great joy, in the ways that have brought praise, and in a manner that uses your strengths.
It is then that you will feel “God’s pleasure.”
Questions for Reflection/Journaling:
- Generally, what makes you happy? What brings you immense joy? This isn’t necessarily what brings God joy about you, but rather, what do you greatly enjoy? Take a minute to consider and then thank God.
- Now, when do you feel God’s pleasure? Outside Influences vs Internal Orientation. The first question was about outside influences and activities. This is more of an internal orientation. There is a smile that can develop in our soul… and even our face… when we know we are serving God well. What is that for you?
- Now get specific to work. When do you know you are serving God well at work or in your leadership? What are those times in which you know that you and God have a shared smile?
- So, what are you made for? If you don’t have it, pencil something for now.