In Search of Joy and Gladness

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The late Henri Nouwen (Photo Above) once said, “Joy is the result of our choices.” Few choices affect your joy more than deciding how to invest your talents in a career; sometimes deciding rightly seems like a burdensome thing.

The Talmud, the body of Jewish law, tells an illustrative story of Akiba, who on his deathbed worried aloud to his rabbi that he was a failure. His rabbi moved closer and asked why and Akiba confessed that he had not lived a life like Moses. The poor man began to cry, admitting he feared God’s judgment. At this, his rabbi leaned into his ear and whispered gently, “God will not judge Akiba for not being Moses. God will judge Akiba for not being Akiba.”

Your destiny is written in your only-ness. You are the only person ever to possess your unique blend of natural skills, temperament, experiences, and spiritual sensibilities. Observe your uniqueness and understand it. Be awake and attentive to the message God is sending you through the way you are “knit together,” then give it all back to the Lord. Remember the little boy who brought his loaves and fishes to Jesus, who then used them to feed the five thousand; in the same way, bring your loaves and fishes and offer them for their proper use to be multiplied for the kingdom’s sake.

Theologian Frederick Buechner described your calling this way, “The kind of work God usually calls you to is the kind of work that you need most to do and that the world most needs to have done. The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Like Chariot of Fire’s Eric Liddell, who felt God’s pleasure when he ran fast, your gladness originates in doing what you love to do and are gifted to do well. Celebrate your talents, and then develop and express them in your work.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

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    Posted in Staublog in October 5, 2004 by | No Comments »

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