A brief announcement to save you money :)! Our January book is As Soon As I Fell by Kay Bruner. Kay let me know the book will be on sale after American Thanksgiving this week. If you buy the paperback you get the kindle version for free (so you can keep the kindle and have a present for someone else!). More information about As Soon As I Fell as we get closer — but I didn’t want you to miss out on the sale! And if that’s not enough, she’s got an advent book based on Handel’s Messiah.
Does the word “purpose” evoke weariness in you? I get it, I believe in it, I’m grateful for it, and I want to not feel guilty about living a life of purpose.
In An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor dials purpose down to its bare essence, “While my chosen vocation gave me a really good job in the divine work of creation, it remained a subset of a larger vocation, which was the job of loving God and neighbor as myself.”
Isn’t that balm to our souls? “A subset of a larger vocation” — what we are doing at the moment doesn’t have to go from grand gesture to grand gesture! Sometimes living with purpose might involve a diet coke, bowl of Cheetos (I’m living in fantasy land now), and either a movie or a chat with a friend. If I’m loving her as I would myself, then this might be the most purposeful to do.
I don’t know about you, but this word “purposeful” can be one I stumble on. Over the years I’ve seen folks who were, from my vantage point (so we know it’s flawed), basically taking a long holiday on their supporters money. I don’t think that is loving your neighbor as yourself.
I’ve also seen the other extreme with cross-cultural workers do and do and do and never take a break. They come up with compelling reasons. It drives me nuts when they are ushered “up front” — either in organizational newsletters or material or at conferences — and held up as the model. Have they not read the good news of the gospel? Christ died so that we are no longer slaves to the law and we don’t have to earn our keep or prove our value by the worth of our work.
Truth be told, we all probably have a propensity to tilt towards one side or the other. Are you more likely to give yourself a break or do just a little bit more?
In reference to what Barbara learned from Luther she wrote, “Every one of these tools [acting towards our neighbors as we would ourselves] gave me ample opportunity to choose kindness over meanness. Every one of them offered me the chance to recognize the divine in human form, inviting me out of myself long enough to engage someone whose fears, wants, loves, and needs were at least as important as my own. Of course, they also gave me ample opportunity to act like a jerk, missing my purpose by a mile. Yet even this turned out to be helpful, since recognizing my jerkdom is how I remember that is not who I want to be.”
Choosing kindness over meanness. That IS living with purpose. Amen?
One last thought on this chapter. I enjoyed hearing about the different jobs she’d had as they helped expose her to those different from her. I’ll share in the comments, but I’d love to hear some of the different jobs you’ve had over the years and who is have exposed you to.
Oh and one last, last comment :). Last week after I looked up Adam’s name based on our discussion of introverts I now have many, many books about introverts and church or ministry recommended to me by amazon. Can’t wait to see what our discussion leads to that has me looking up more books. Thanks!
Over to you :). How do you live with purpose? What thoughts stirred in you as you read, underlined, and starred. Any points you disagree with? You know my mantra, disagreements welcome too! This book is a place to start the discussion, not to end it.
P.S. Next week we’ll looking at the Practice of Saying No
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