We as a society live in such a success-driven culture. We thrive on our accomplishments, accolades, and praise from those around us. We work long hours to keep our bosses happy, and make compromises in our personal lives to give others what we think they want. All of us seek approval in one way or another.
Sometimes it’s in the form of telling others what we do in an attempt to feel superior. Sometimes it’s in the simple way we carry ourselves; we attempt to impress others with our personalities, our vocabulary, our emotional health, or our mindsets. We vocalize our political beliefs on Facebook with ease, and give out advice like Dr. Phil to anyone who listens. We keep ourselves spun tightly to make sure that we juggle everything in our lives-trying desperately to be the best parent, best spouse, best friend, best co-worker, and best Christian possible. At the end of the day when our head hits that pillow, we think through our day…tallying up the successes and failures of our actions. And then we judge ourselves. We either make excuses, smile with pleasure, or make plans to “do it better next time.”
I wonder though… how many of us hold all that we have done in that day up to the standard that God has set before us, and ask if we made Him proud? Did we love unconditionally today? Not because we prided ourselves on withholding judgment from people, but because God has asked us to? Did we feel our hearts break when we saw the coworker fail at his presentation, or did we feel a twinge of relief that the spotlight was on someone else that day? Did we feel our anger flare up when our spouse acted in a way that was not “according to Scripture”, or did we become annoyed because they weren’t acting in a way that made us feel in charge? Did we celebrate with someone? Did we react out of joy when someone else was blessed, or did we secretly wish it had been us instead? In other words, how successful was our heart today?
Ephesians 4:1 says, “Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God.”
What is your calling? Is it to be rich? Or blessed? Is it to be a high-ranked boss? Or a servant-leader? So often we place the word “calling” on lofty titles like pastor, missionary, prophet, or evangelist. But what if our calling was also mom, dad, friend, brother, coworker, child, loving, compassionate, wise…? Would your actions change at all? Would you rate your success at the end of the day with a different heart meter? I know I would!
The next two verses in that passage say, “Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.”
When my life is over and done, I hope that someone can say those words of me. I hope that I have lived a life worthy of the callings God has given me. I hope that my heart is humble and gentle, patient with other’ faults, and committed to unity. All of the accomplishments, raises, and bonuses in the world will not be able to equal the blessing that comes with unity.
We have each been given unique callings. And each of those callings come with a need to check our heart at the end of each day. 1 Samuel 16 says, “the Lord looks at the heart.” His requirements for us do not depend on being successful in society’s eyes, they depend on the heart.