I remember when I sat on a counselor’s couch years ago and learned a principle that really changed my life. It should not have taken rocket science to help me figure this out, and it doesn’t say a lot about how smart I am to think I had never figured it out on my own! The principles were termed “life giving” and “life sapping.” Life-giving relationships and life-giving endeavors energize us, inspire us, and refresh us. Life-sapping relationships and endeavors strain us and drain us, and sometimes leave us numb—or worse, paralyzed. Sitting in front of a spreadsheet is, for me, excruciating and life sapping. For someone else, it is better than shopping! You get the picture.
Being created in the image of our Father God means that He stamped us each one with unique temperaments and gifts and that when we offer them back to Him, He can accomplish amazing results through us. And we are more than slightly aware that this very thing He is doing in and through us is the exact personification of abundant life! It’s worth way more than money.
Bo Bowen’s transformation from ambitious businessman to passionate missionary is a prime example. The same God-given tenacity and drive that made him an exceptional athlete now make him a dynamic evangelist in Ukraine. The trips, described as some who have traveled with him as grueling, may seem demanding at times, but for Bo, he would not choose anything different. It is life giving for him.
Elizabeth Perkins (“Living My Call”) lights up like a Christmas tree when you get her talking about her love for teen girls and that life-giving joy that fills her up when she is encouraging them in their goals, choices, and their relationship with the Lord. She knows she was put on this earth to do exactly that. I have met very few people in my life who consider dealing with teenagers in the “life-giving” category!
I’ve been doing this magazine for 11 years now, and every month when the new issue arrives, I get as excited as I did when I held the premier issue in my hands. Sometimes it is frustrating work, but always—always—it is fulfilling.
The day Elizabeth, her brother Derek, and Phil Reed, CEO of Voice of Calvary Ministries, and I sat down to talk, Phil really got me thinking on this whole abundant life thing. I have to share with you what he said.
In the Garden of Eden—Paradise—Adam and Eve had a relationship with God, a relationship with each other, and work to do tending the garden. As Phil pointed out, work was never a result of the fall. Work was never meant to be a curse. Meaningful work is part of the abundant life. Christ came to restore what was lost in the fall and a meaningful vocation was part of that restoration.
I see the principle every month and sometimes I find it in the most surprising places. When you find your niche—the one God made for you—there is absolutely nothing on earth that is more life giving.
Happy April. Relish every minute of the landscape that is bursting with life right before our eyes!
From Marilyn’s Bookshelf:
My friend Bill Buckner suggested this book, and I have not been able to put it down. It challenges and convicts and forces you to consider exactly what it means to have a relationship with Jesus. Is it worth it? You will have to decide for yourself.
This is the first book I have read by Muggeridge although I have long admired some of his quotes! He takes seven heroes of the faith from Saint Augustine to Dietrich Bonhoeffer and gives us personal profiles that bring them to life and make them real people. Inspiring and thought provoking, and a reminder that God uses flawed vessels to do amazing work.
I am a big Ortberg fan. Love her honesty and vulnerability. The subject is leadership, and it inspires me because God definitely brings amazing results even with flawed people. I love that God does not create people in a “one size fits all” kind of mode. Ortberg calls it a non-linear approach. That is too close to math for me to understand, but I do understand her message—and it inspires me.