Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen - 1 Peter 4:10-11 NIV
One of the things that I enjoy about getting up with my 2 sons in the morning before they head off to school is the time that we have to talk. We use that time to talk about a variety of subjects that range from school to relationships. One day I asked them what did they want to be when they grew up. Both of them said I want to do what you do Dad. While that was flattering to me, I knew that wasn't necessarily true. I asked them why they felt the need to follow in my footsteps. Both shrugged their shoulders in response. I then proceeded to explain to me that although it made me feel good that they viewed me as a role model, they should choose their own path according to their gifts and talents. As John L Mason stated in his book, An Enemy Called Average, "all of us are born originals, but die copies." I want my children to be able to choose their calling based on the talents and gifts that God has provided to them. They should be unique and embrace it. In the words of Oscar Wilde: "Be yourself; everyone else is already taken."
How many of us are on a career path not of our choosing? How many of us are pursuing something because it seemed like the "right" thing to do? We went to college, chose a major and graduated. The next progression seemed to get a job in your field because that's how we were programmed. We then proceed to climb the ladder of success, doing the all of the things so that we can advance. Inside, we are dying a little each day. This is not a physical death, but one that involves our soul. We know that when we take the time to be brutally honest with ourselves, we realize that we are not doing what we were created to do, yet we continue climbing the ladder. At some point, if we are fortunate to "reach the top", we come to the realization that the ladder that we were climbing was leaning against the wrong wall. Thomas Merton echoed this sentiment with this quote: “People may spend their whole lives climbing the ladder of success only to find, once they reach the top, that the ladder is leaning against the wrong wall.”
How do you find the right ladder to climb? Some of the questions that you will need to answer are: 1) Does the ladder align with your talents and gifts? 2) Is the ladder the one that you choose or one that someone choose for you? 3) Do find joy and contentment as you climb the ladder? Properly answering these questions are the start to living a more fulfilling life that is in alignment with the talents and gifts that God has provided.
Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.