Live It and Give It! (Zug, Switzerland)- for March 2010
“I just want to feel like that what I am doing in life can make a difference in the world, otherwise what’s the point of just going to work, going home and doing whatever in the meantime. I have a great career and make enough money to do well. I’m in a great relationship for nearly 10 years now; he’s a really good man and we do love each other…I believe it’s for our lifetime, but don’t feel the need to be married and change what we have. I don’t really desire kids of my own, but one of my life’s joys is my sister’s toddler that fulfills that aspect of life. But somehow, I want to do something greater for the world” –she’s got a name as well, but I’ll only share a bit of her story.
How many of you are in your mid thirties (or remember them…or someday want to imagine what your life will be like when you get there) and desire to make a real difference in the world? I’ll admit that I do and I’ll also admit that I’m actually in my late thirties, not mid and also, the question of “if” I can still make a difference becomes more of a reality because the older I get the seemingly less time I have to do it. As mentioned in the past couple of LIFT updates, I am on a “Sabbatical” from daily leadership of LIFT this year and during this season of life, part of my personal and intentional goal this year is to better hear “other people’s stories” and try to learn from them and what the Lord might try to communicate to me through their stories if I simply listen long enough to truly hear.
I love the worldly aspect of my professional life that I so often find myself in deep hearted discussions with others who have no preconceived notions that they are talking to a strong Follower of Jesus, much less a “pastor”. During an international training program with several 2 or 3 day modules over the past year or so, I’ve gotten to know several internationals that have no idea about my “ministry habit”, but know me from my work titles and function. In such courses, a team atmosphere and actual friendships begin to form from the course discussions and the many side discussions around meals and some free times. Although I may keep my “church planter/pastor” roles a bit hidden at the work place, the aspect of being a family man with faith clearly comes out during side discussions. This openness does two things; one it opens up conversations with others about life, and secondly, it’s a message to both male and female co-workers that I value my faithful marriage relationship. So although this woman in her mid thirties shared some insight into her life with me, it was definitely within an “appropriate discussion”. That being said, it’s amazing and ironic that deep down people are all the same (whether they admit to include Jesus or not) in that they seek a deeper purpose of sense in life and also seek deeper true relationships with others.
Speaking of getting a bit deeper regarding a couple of things she said in the quote above and amongst over discussions in which I found particularly insightful and meaningful:
-“I just want to feel like that what I am doing in life can make a difference in the world”: This theme kept coming up in that she had a huge heart for the billions across the planet that live in poverty, in need of food and water and things she takes for granted every day. She has everything she needs in a decently wealthy country and comfortable surroundings She wanted to somehow use her life to help others, in particular children as her sister’s toddler has grabbed her heart and motherly aspirations.
-“a great career and make enough money”: It was clear to me, (and I believe she meant it) that just increasing her rank in the corporate ladder and salary wasn’t very fulfilling, which actually, for her age, she has already attained a high level and definitely within a circle of very influential people. Status and money still left her feeling empty regarding things that are considered meaningful.
-“a great relationship…but don’t feel the need to be married”: Ok, this may give away her nationality, but the term for her “relationship” is a unique German language word that expresses much. “Lebensabschnittspartner”- meaning temporary life companion, or more literally “Life – segment – partner”. Honestly, although I really don’t like this German term, I appreciate the honesty of it. So many of today’s generation across the planet don’t value marriage and just move in together, often for a brief time, in this case the title of temporary “life-segment-partner” at least admits the truth of their expectations that it is perhaps just for a part of life, not a lifetime. Aside of the term she used for her partner, she did express deep love and loyalty, perhaps even for a lifetime.
Of course, there is more to her story like a “religious” background, but no understanding of a relationship with God or Jesus, just being made to go to church until her late teen years as it was the family expectations of her parents, who seemingly also only went out of duty, not worship or a meaningful reason. There is more to her story revealing her desire for real relationships and friendships as she admitted her quick successes on FB’s Farmville in recent months showing that she’s spending too much time on cyberspace longing for contact with others and not enough in real life, except those she works with, as she’s somewhat of a workaholic at times. Of course, during our conversation, I inserted a few words of (Godly) wisdom here and there, just not stating the Book, chapter and verse behind the wisdom and letting the wisdom speak for itself.
Her story is not over…….neither is yours or mine. In a few months, I’ll be at another training course and perhaps our side conversation will continue. In the meantime, I can keep her in prayer and perhaps God will continue to put others into her life to continue His conversation with her.
YOUR LIFE DOES MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD! In closing, I am the eternal optimist and I really do believe that I can make a difference in the world, and believe you and your life makes a difference as well! It’s not how big or little of a difference, but simply just making a difference one person, one story, one day at a time. Simply take the little “insignificant” opportunities that a normal day and normal conversation bring along in living and giving our faith away. God will take it from there…..with you…..and/or with others!
Colossian 1:9-12a For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding. 10And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully 12giving thanks to the Father
In His grip and grace,