A few years ago a unique movie came out called “The Bucket List.” The idea was that two men discovered that their time on earth was coming to a close so together they made a list of all the things they would do before they “kicked the bucket.” They jumped out of air planes, saw majestic locations and did all they imagined should be done before leaving this world. Essentially it was things that they wished they had done earlier in life but for whatever reason never did so. Well, instead of waiting until possibly the sunset of our sojourn, why not stop to consider what we were designed by God to do, establish a plan then set goals?
A life lived with purpose and pursuit is a life a marked by milestones and accented with accomplishments.
The hilarious journey of the men in the movie was a joy to watch but I would rather see a life worthily lived than a few famous destinations visited. So let’s get started!
- Know what God has designed you for. We are all different in spite of the many similarities we share, God only make originals, none are the copies of another. Hear the words of the apostle Paul, “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We each have different gifts, according to the grace given us.” (Romans 12:4-6a) What a beautiful thought! Normally we think of receiving gifts at Christmas or on our birthdays but here we learn that God has given us gifts in terms of abilities and skills. What is yours? Do you know? There are three ways to know.
- First is to pray and ask God to help you see how he has made and equipped you.
- The second is to ask a friend who is known to be discerning and ask him/her what your strengths, skills or aptitudes are. In a time searching, a friend revealed to me his conviction that I was well suited to do youth ministry so I walked in that direction and loved every minute of it. I remain thankful for that true friend who helped me see what I could not.
- The third way is found in personality, abilities and spiritual gifts inventories. A simple Google.com search revealed numerous tests available all designed to assist you in finding out how God has gifted you. So, now that we know the ways that God has gifted us and how to find them out, we go now to the next part…making a plan!
Jesus said, “no one sets out to build without having first counted the cost, lest he begin to build and cannot afford to finish.” Building our lives to God’s glory using the gifts he has graciously given us means making a plan and setting goals. No one runs a marathon without consulting a map to know where they are going. No builder sets out to construct a sky-scraper without a blueprint. The Bible even speaks our lives using these metaphors. How can you use your gift to encourage someone? God made you to be a blessing in your church and community. Plug it in! Write down two ways in which your purpose/design will lift someone up or help another carry their burdens. Then as you grown more comfortable exercising those gifts, make it three, then four, then five and so on. Then, find someone else who has the same gift and calling and help them to use it. That is called mentoring.