A dear friend of mine’s father passed away suddenly and unexpectedly recently. He was 68. Younger people will say that he lived to a good age, whereas people on the other side of 40 will say he was so young.
But what was so striking about his death, was the shear shock that went through the community. People die all the time, and by most standards, a 68-year-old man dying should be relatively unremarkable. Yet the shockwaves in the aftermath of his passing were significant. Tributes filled up social media feeds, local news outlets published stories on him, his funeral was one of the largest the area has ever seen.
How does a seemingly ordinary man have such an impact and leave such a legacy?
Most of us spend an inordinate amount of time waiting to be called by God, wondering when our true purpose will be revealed to us, and trying to be patient as we wait for our real life to begin. Everything up until now has been, and is, just filler time until we find out what we are supposed to be doing with our lives.
We fulfill our current responsibilities out of duty and because we know it is the right thing to do, but we don’t actually see our current lives as our real purpose. We don’t actually see our day-to-day as being God’s call. We don’t view the ordinary as meaningful. We cling to a thread deep in our hearts that there will be more for us. We desire to leave a mark and leave a legacy.
However, there is an epidemic of narcissism in our culture which makes it difficult to recognize our purpose and leave a meaningful legacy. We are all so focused on ourselves and seeking our own comfort, status, and satisfaction that we have lost sight of the fact that God’s call on our lives isn’t actually about us:
Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. Philippians 2:4 NLT
Our calling is to think of others - to love and serve others.
God is not nearly as concerned about where we work as He is about how we love and serve where we work. He is not nearly as concerned about where we live as He is about how we love and serve our family and neighbors where we live. This is not to oversimplify, as God certainly cares about the details of our lives, but it is to say that God’s call is not nearly as specific as we often think it is.
My friend’s dad understood this well.
He was thinking about others. He loved and he served others. He did things for others.
He loved and served his family. He loved and he served his community. He loved and he served his church. He loved and served as a local business owner who employed hundreds of people over the years and treated them well. He loved and served as a school bus driver to hundreds of kids. He loved and served in the local sports community, coaching and fundraising. He loved and served in his local government. The list could go on.
As it turns out, God’s call and purpose for our lives is much simpler than we realize or even want it to be.