One of the best indications of emotional and spiritual health is our desire to make a difference in life. Regardless of one’s state or occupation, a life of significance is a most worthy ambition. Unfortunately, living in such fashion requires a person to take some risks. No one can achieve anything without moving out of his comfort zone or stretching herself in uncomfortable ways.
Part of my “to do” list during this sabbatical leave is to engage in a self-evaluation of what I have accomplished in these 64 years of life and 41 years of pastoral ministry. Just seeing those numbers in print stagger me. It seems like yesterday that I was starting out on my life’s calling.
Perhaps that’s why I was drawn to a book by Jordan Kassalow, titled Dare to Matter. Kassalow, the son of an optometrist who was destined to take on his father’s occupation, felt an attraction to something more than a lifetime of eye exams and glass fittings, regardless of the fact that he knew that it would provide him an affluent life. He wanted to make a difference. So, through a series of risky ventures and contemplative moments, Kassalow found a way to merge his vocation with his life’s calling.
What I appreciated most about Kassalow’s book is the manner in which he merged his Judaism with his self-reflection. His drawing upon rabbinical teachings and their interpretation of Hebrew Scriptures shows us how faith is a non-negotiable variable for finding fulfillment in life.
I have already been encouraged by Kassalow’s words and am certain that many of his learnings will show up in subsequent sermons. After all, impact is surely something that each of us yearns to make, and the most meaningful forms of impact can rarely, if ever, be gauged by titles, positions, and bank accounts. When Jesus promised his disciples that by following him they would experience “life in all its abundance,” I don’t think he had any of these things in mind.
These summer months might well be a good time for you to think about your impact and how you can make it more pronounced. It’s not a matter of age or experience as much as it is about heart and soul; and if you make your faith the primary driver in your life, there is every reason for you to be certain that your presence in every place and among every group will most definitely matter.
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared us in advance to do” (Ephesians 2:10).