What I do for a living, which is play baseball, is not my calling. Your calling is also not the same as what you do for a living. No matter what we do for a living, we share the same calling. We are called to love our Lord God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Baseball is not my calling, but it is my gifting. When we go through life, we have to understand that our gift, the thing that we are gifted at doing, is not our calling. It’s what we add to our calling. We use our gifts to love our neighbors as ourselves.
God showed me that. He showed me that in 2006 when I read Mark 12:29-31 as if for the first time:
Jesus answered him, “The first of all the commandments is: ‘Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one. And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
That day, as I read, God and I had a conversation. He said to me, “You don’t feel successful because you don’t understand what success is. Also, your numbers stink.” Yes, this is a conversation that God and I were having, and I wasn’t really very happy about it. But God told me, “Jeremy, you’re so focused on your numbers. You concentrate on your wins and losses, your ERA, your walks, your strikeouts, your games finished, your saves, your holds. You can’t take your mind off of all these statistics. It makes you think that your success lies in the numbers. You’re missing the boat!” And then God told me, “Learn to love your neighbor as yourself within your career, and then promote that. That’s success, Jeremy. There’s your success.”
What a revelation! I thought success was a low ERA and a flattering strikeout-to-walk ratio. I thought success was winning. And then God told me that while it’s important that I do the best job I can in my career, my success lies in loving. My success would come from loving my neighbor as myself.
Here’s what you need to do. Figure out what you are really truly good at doing. Then find ways to use that gift to make sure other people have freedom. Find a way to use that gift to make sure other people have clean water, or something to eat. When you can use your giftings within your career in order to love your neighbor as yourself, then that is it. You will find success.
More on this next time. See you Saturday.