A few days ago I was doing a personal Bible study that asked me to do one of those summary exercises, you know where you look back and categorize some things in your life.
To be honest, I usually bug right past those… come on, admit it… you do that too. Just like skipping those Bible passages with all those names, or “skimming” all the geographic references in the New Testament… come on, you know who you are.
Let’s be honest, how am I going to be more spiritually mature if I know who ‘begat’ who, and I’m almost certain I don’t have to be able to pinpoint Tyre or Sidon and on a map to get into heaven.
Still, I know I shouldn’t skip stuff like that, so, on this day I was feeling a little obedient and went through the exercise anyway.
The end of the activity exposed that the majority of my life can be categorized into three different arenas. And after some grammatical massaging, I was able to put a label to each of them.
Work hard, have fun, make a difference.
I know there are organizations out there with a very intricate and detailed mission statements. I know there are a myriad of life coaches online and around the world who have multi-step plans to ‘get your act together.’
But, after pondering these three simple things… I think I’m good!
I don’t think plans have to be complex to be effective, and I don’t think everyone has the same need to take the same steps to get to the same destination.
So, if you’re looking for a little direction in life, let me share these with you.
Work hard: there is nothing less inspiring than working with people who don’t pull their own weight. And, there’s nothing more inspiring than working with people who go above and beyond the call of duty. I’m not saying every single one of us is going to be a productive powerhouse in every arena of life, or grow the perfect crop every time we put our hand to the plow of work. But, every single one of us can go all out and give everything we have when there is a task in front of us. There is huge satisfaction when you work hard, huge payoff when you give it everything, and huge credibility that you can give to yourself and others when you are someone who leaves nothing on the field.
Have fun: it’s so important to learn to have fun, both during the hard work that you do and when you take breaks… and let me emphasize, if you’re going to continue to work hard you must take breaks. To have fun in your work, you must be doing something you enjoy, you must be working with people you can learn to enjoy, and you must do things in a way that you enjoy. This isn’t the case every minute of every day, but it should be the norm. Believe it or not, having fun is on you… you can’t blame the job, others, or circumstances… having fun is up to you. And, regarding taking breaks, there’s nothing that will make you a Grinch, sourpuss, difficult person, or garbage can style grouch quicker than not taking breaks… and the problem is, you think you’re the one who’s doing everything right, blind to your own crumegeonness. Plan for breaks, take breaks, UNPLUG and enjoy them.
Make a difference: I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I believe that God is alive and still works through His people. I believe that God has given us, the church, the Great Commission of reaching the world and we are to be about that task every day. Not just those who work in the church, but everyone has been assigned that task, because you are the church! Behind the cash register, changing diapers, laying asphalt, teaching kids, delivering meds… whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. Don’t just share your faith, live your faith. You work hard so in other’s eyes you have credibility. You have fun so that people see the joy in you. And, you do it all for the purpose of pointing others to the God that you serve as they see Him working in your life.
I’m not the first person with the advice to work hard, have fun and make a difference. Thousands of years ago the wisest man on earth said this in Ecclesiastes 3:
9 What gain has the worker from his toil? 10 I have seen the business that God has given to the children of man to be busy with. 11 He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end. 12 I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; 13 also that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil—this is God’s gift to man.
So, here’s the plan… increase the effort, check the attitude, and follow a purpose… The Purpose.
Life is too important to miss out. Work hard, have fun and make a difference.