Sunday, April 21, 2013

Discover Life, Again: Passion

Part 2 of John 21
How many have figured out what you wanted to do when you grow up?
What do you want to do when you grow up?
Have any of you figured out what really motivates you, inspires you, gives you energy to spend countless hours working and yet, you’re willing to give more?
Have you found what you're passionate about and following that passion? For those of you who figured it out...awesome. You’re super lucky. For the rest of us... How many of our hours do we spend just watching the clock, watching the weather, watching Oprah reading, people magazine, following tweets, waiting for the next big thing to happen. Is that really living? Is that how you want to live?

Admittedly we get stuck. I mentioned last week: After Jesus’ death, and even after his resurrection and his appearing before them, they seem to be still a little shaken, a little stuck. They return to what they know as they regroup. They go fishing. The disciples had been out fishing all night...
Jesus, apparently, calls to them, “how they biting?” “We ain’t caught a thing.” How many hours of life do we spend with empty nets? Hoping something might come along to provide fulfillment..countless hours of fishing...nothing! And Jesus says, “Cast your nets on the right side of the boat; you’ll find fish there!”
Was this a statement about political persuasions? Ah, I couldn't resist. Basically Jesus is saying: "Hey, if life’s not working for you, try something else. Consider a different approach. Take a little chance. If you're empty over here, cast your nets over there... you have the tools, you have the ability, just hear my voice, make a little your passion, discover what you love to do, discover life."

Steve Jobs, who's responsible for this thing (iPad), gave an inspiring speech about discovering what he loved to do to young graduates from Stanford in 2005. He says: I was lucky - I found what I loved to do early in life. [starting] Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation - the Macintosh - a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him.So at 30 I was out.

What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating. Jobs remembers, I really didn't know what to do for a few months.... I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me - I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life. During that period Jobs started two companies, including Pixar - which made Toy Story - And, he says, “I fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife and we would have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple, jobs reflected. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. Your Work [fills] a large part of your life, and the only Way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle.

Don't settle with how you’re spending your days if your nets are empty all the time. Life is too short to be fishing with empty nets. for those who have retired you probably need to resist settling more than working folks.. all the world says you're to do is retire, step aside, do nothing....
I'm reminded of what Linkin Newton said frequently, you can't retire from jesus! Jesus' call from the shore--discover life! --Is for everyone! No matter your age, occupation, or ability, all of us, deep down, want our life to be full of meaning, purpose, hope, we want our nets to be full. If things aren’t going your way, maybe just do things a little differently, cast your nets to the other side of the boat..there is life out there! The problem is, of course, how do we know where we need to be fishing? Not only how do we figure out what we’re passionate about; but, even more deeply, how do we discern God’s voice?

Even if Jesus is on the lake shore, shouting to us, jumping up and down, screaming... "The other side! Over there! Look...! all the fish...!" The noise of the waves crashing against the boat; the chatter of the others on the boat... we may not even see Jesus....

There are all kinds of different voices calling you to do all kinds of things, and the challenge is to find out which is the voice of God, rather than that of society, say, or the super-ego, or self-interest. We can waste so much time living someone else's life--doing what others think we should be doing, trapped into living with the results of other people's thinking - aka dogma. How do we keep the noises around us from drowning out what God is calling us to do...?

Frederick Buechner, in a recent blog post, said: By and large a good rule for finding out what God is calling you to do is the following: the kind of tasks God usually calls you to are the kind of tasks (a) that you most need to do--[ what you are passionate about], and (b) that the world most needs to have done. If you really get a kick out of what you do on a daily basis, you've presumably met requirement (a), but if you sense what you do really doesn’t really amount to much for the good of the world - Buechner suggests for example writing ads for deodorant commercials - the chances are you've missed requirement (b). On the other hand, if your work is being a doctor in a leper colony, you've probably met requirement (b), but if most of the time you're bored and depressed by your work, the chances are that you've not only bypassed (a), but probably aren't helping your patients much either. “The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.” (The Place God Calls you To)

We have to pay here. And then, have the courage to follow that calling.

I love the story of Peace Pilgrim . An amazing activist recently featured on a great program: Peace Talks Radio, which began: “In 1953, Mildred Norman set off from the Rose Bowl parade on New Year's Day walking- the Korean War was still under way, and an ominous threat of a nuclear attack was on the minds of many Americans. And so, with "Peace Pilgrim" written across her shirt, she began walking "coast to coast for peace."
She walked for 28 years. She never used money. She wore the same clothes every day: blue pants and a blue tunic that held everything she owned: a pen, a comb, a toothbrush and a map. "I own only what I wear and carry. I just walk until given shelter, fast until given food," she said. "I don't even ask; it's given without asking. I tell you, people are good. There's a spark of good in everybody."

Her journey to work for peace stemmed from a childhood experience: One night in the late 1930s, "out of a feeling of deep seeking for a meaningful way of life," she began walking through the woods. She recalls, "After I had walked almost all night, I came out into a clearing where the moonlight was shining down. And something just motivated me to speak and I found myself saying, 'If you can use me for anything, please use me. Here I am, take all of me, use me as you will, I withhold nothing,' " Peace Pilgrim remembers: "That night, I experienced the complete willingness, without any reservations whatsoever, to give my life to something beyond myself." The motto Peace Pilgrim had sewn on the back of her tunic when she started out, "Walking Coast to Coast for Peace," quickly became outdated. By 1964 she had already walked 25,000 miles. Eventually, she stopped counting.

In July 1981, Peace Pilgrim was interviewed by Ted Hayes, the manager of a small radio station in Knox, Ind. "Peace Pilgrim, you know, there are a certain number of people who would probably think of somebody like yourself as a kook or a nut," Hayes said. "Well, I'm quite sure that some of those who have just heard of me must think I'm completely off the beam," Peace Pilgrim responded. "After all, I am doing something different. And pioneers have always been looked upon as being a bit strange. 'I shall remain a wanderer until [hu]mankind has learned the way of peace.
Hayes in the interview noted how she appeared to be a most happy woman."
[This response here at Minute 11:17]: "I certainly am a happy person," Peace Pilgrim responded. "Who could know God and not be joyous? I want to wish you all peace."

Peace be with you, Jesus breathed on his disciples. Don’t spend your days wasting time tending to endeavors that leave you empty. ..all of us have today to make life discovering changes if we need to. And as a church community, when we find ourselves engaging activities or aspects of church that aren’t life giving....let’s not waste our time on those things... discernment about the future of this congregation together begins today in just a few minutes.
Keep doing what you’re good at, but if you sense a need to change, Don’t be afraid--Cast your net to one side. And if your passion isn’t there, cast again and if not there, cast again And if you still are coming up empty...maybe it’s time to get off the boat, sit with Jesus a while, Sit, until others who have full nets come to shore and join with them in bringing the catch in...
Seek and ye shall find... If life is not fulfilling...Keep will find life. I pray it is so, in the name of life giver, the life teacher and the life sustainer. Amen

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