Yesterday's sermon at COR about service really struck a chord in me and I'm going to go out on a limb and write a personal post about it.
Service to my fellow human has been a goal of mine since I was a young man and desired to enter med school. My wildly improbable plan, at the time, was to become a plastic surgeon, make a fortune for 4 months of the year doing boob jobs for housewives, then spend the next 8 months in Burundi, or Costa Rica, or somewhere awful, really awful, plying my surgeon skills for free.
Unfortunately, I had way too much fun in college, and the dream got lost somewhere between the girls, the Keystone Light, and the late nights. I scraped my way into graduate school and have since grown up.
But therein lies the problem. Now that I have matured, and found academic and social success in my life (and the security of a full-time job), the desire I always had to throw my life away in service to God has rekindled itself in my heart. Last night's sermon was mostly about being a good Christian witness to your fellow man, and showing, rather than telling, people how to be a good Christian. A man that follows Jesus will invariably attract others to Jesus as well. This I believe to be absolutely true. Jesus teachings are by far the single most attractive set of philosophical values and rules I have experienced. If you do not choose pure hedonism and if you believe in anything before or after your own life, you must, I feel, be drawn to Jesus, because his arguments are simply airtight and perfect.
That's all good and well for me to say, but the truth is, I want to show it.
The problem is, I cannot possibly ever become a plastic surgeon; the field of medicine is way too dismissing of my GPA, anyway, I'm too ingrained in engineering, and frankly I don't think my family could manage that kind of career move. So I must find some other way to make an impact on society. Or do I? The doubt creeps in and I begin to wonder if simply living a good life for my family is enough. If I work hard at my job, raise my kid to be a good person, and love only my wife, have I done enough? It pains me to say so, but no, I have not. Not by my standards.
God gifted me. When I was a little kid I went through some testing and was told I was gifted and talented. But "gifted" holds that double meaning now, doesn't it. A 'gift' is an ability to do a thing or things extremely well. But on the other hand, a 'gift' is something you have received from someone else. Obviously, through genetics, I received my brain from my parents and ancestors. But more than that, my soul, I believe, was the lucky one that got to inhabit the body that my genetics had prepared. The maker of my soul is God. So in a way, I am in debt to my parents for having me, but I am also in debt to God, who chose this body for me to inhabit.
So I've got all this brain and talent and I, for the sake of my sanity, must use it for the greater good. Designing the guts of buildings is a great way to keep a roof over my family's heads, but I don't feel a swelling pride in my soul at the end of a work day. I have simply done what any good man would do. But I want to be a great man. Not for my own glory, but rather because I live with the huge debt I owe to the Almighty, and the sooner I can get started paying it off, the better.
Simply put: God did not give me the brain I have so that I could design the guts of buildings for snobby architects. God gave me this brain to use for His work.
I just wish I could figure out what His work was.