Living a Life of Impact

My wife and I were surprised recently when our 19-year-old daughter was reminded that life is short. Several weeks ago, she received a letter from AARP inviting her to join!

If life is short, it is crucial that we are intentional in how we live. Especially if we claim to follow Jesus Christ; we should leave a lasting legacy. Living a life of positive impact is complex, but there are a few keys:

1.  Focus on the Eternal.


I encourage you to read the book of Ecclesiastes. There are so many paths offered to us to live the “good life.” King Solomon explored most of them so we don’t have to waste years as he did. He explored power, pleasure and money to name a few; summing them all up as “meaningless.” His summary statement is found at the end of the book. In it, he points people back to living for God as what is most important.

2. Discern your call.

All Christians have a general call: love God wholeheartedly, love others sacrificially and make disciples. How that general calling is lived out is unique to each of us. The Apostle Paul tells us that we have a unique calling (Ephesians 2:10). Discovering this begins as a matter of praying for the Lord’s guidance. I will never forget the palatable presence of God in a little prayer chapel at Taylor University when I believed that, despite my objections, God was calling me to be a minister. If you are unsure of your call, one resource you should check out is a book called “S.H.A.P.E.” by Eric Rees. He gives you five lenses to look through in order to understand calling. A Cliffs Notes version of the book follows:

“S” is for Spiritual Gifts. Whatever God calls you to do he will equip you for.

“H” is for Heart. Where is your passion? Frederick Buechner once said, “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”

“A” is for Abilities. If you think God wants you to be a singer, but people cringe when you sing, it’s time to reevaluate.

“P” is for personality. A strong introvert will do a job or vocation differently than a strong extrovert. Neither is right or wrong, just different.

“E” is for experience. Look at your experiences, particularly your pain and often you’ll find a clue to how you should spend your life.

Once you discern your call then:

3.  Pay the Price as You Walk it Out.

If you are called to start a business, understand there will be long hours on the way to profitability. If you are called to fostering kids, understand there will be moments you want to give up. If you are called to political office, embrace the unavoidable criticism as you attempt to do what is best for the community. Let me close with a story of a young woman who was on my staff. One day she came to our leadership meeting and told us she felt like God was calling her to go to a particular closed country and teach English as an opening to share the gospel of Jesus with the people there. She asked me whether there was anyone I could point her to that could help with that. I said I did not know anyone. Within 12 hours, I received a call from a person who told me about their organization that placed American Christians in closed countries to be salt and light. He asked me whether I knew anyone who would want to teach English in the very nation she had just mentioned to me! Understand, in 25 years of ministry I have never had anyone call up and ask me that specific question! I connected them and she went. She has gone and it is hard and lonely work. Just recently, she told me a story that has helped her. She said in her private prayer time one day she cried out to God, “Is this even worth it?” Later that day, as she walked alone in a country where none of the signs are in English, she looked and in a store window saw a T-shirt with English on it. It simply said, “It’s all worth it.” (Yes, she bought it and it fit!).

I encourage you to focus on the eternal, discern your call and pay the price. You’ll leave a lasting legacy.
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