We just enjoyed a four-hour visit with an inspiring couple. We count them among our true heroes. As the psalmist said: “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!” (Psalm 16:3 NLT) Those who enjoy “hero status” for us all live with a sense of assignment and have three things in common:
- Long obedience
- Deep joy
- Strong generosity
After a great meal our relaxing conversation led to our friend smiling and saying: “I like to make money so that I can give it away!” He, like me, is enjoying the high privilege of knowing what he is called to do. Again, I’m inspired by the psalmist: “Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.” (Psalm 16:5-6 NIV)
All of God’s assignments are good ones, and all come with certain boundaries. I definitely don’t have the money-making gift that my buddy has, but then again, he would readily admit that he doesn’t have my gifts either. Maybe that’s why we have enjoyed such a great partnership over the years. We celebrate each other’s God-given assignments. And it’s those divine assignments that keep us energized and give us a reason to lean into the future.
It’s been said that your vision is whatever you’d delay going to heaven in order to accomplish - that’s the ultimate Big Yes! In I Timothy 1:1 The Message version puts it this way: “I, Paul, am an apostle on special assignment for Christ, our living hope.” Do you have a sense that you are on “special assignment,” that something important has been given to you to do - a calling that matters?
New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested that there are two ways of thinking about life: “the Well-Planned Life” and “the Summoned Life.” As an avid planner I’ve been daily gripped with that distinction. What does it matter if my life is consumed with accomplishments if they’re not in keeping with my special assignment? C.S. Lewis once observed that a man’s greatest dignity is not found in initiative but in response. In a sense we are all to live in response to the grace of God. These assignments, be they large or small, are ultimately more of a blessing than a burden. Living with a sense of summons is ennobling and inspiring.
This I know, when I have a sense that I’m on divine assignment, that bigger yes changes everything! I was sitting with several pastor friends taking turns confessing our deepest fears. One man’s words really resonated with me. He said, “My greatest fear is not simply falling into immorality of some sort, but failing to fulfill the assignment God has given to me, and failing to seize the opportunities God has set before me.”
The ultimate calling of us all is to respond to the summons of the bigger yes assignment God has for us.