Find Your Fulfillment in Work

We were created to love our neighbors as ourselves, with the same love that Jesus has for us. That’s why it’s so fulfilling. It feels so good. You feel so good when you love your neighbor! It feels good whether you’re a Christian or not. Loving your neighbor is loving like Jesus. Love for your neighbor is His love. It’s the love that makes you tick, and enjoy life.

There are no limits to this love, either. There’s no law against it. You can love your neighbor in any environment, and in any job or career.

Why do you work? Obviously, you work to earn a paycheck. And lots of us work because we want to earn tons of money. Why not? There’s nothing wrong with tons of money!

But why stop there?

Most of us can do something more.

Maybe you’re not earning tons of money yet. Maybe at the end of the month, you only have an extra fifty cents. Maybe you have a dollar extra, or even two. You may not think you can do much with that, but you can. You can pay for someone’s day.

Imagine that. One or two dollars is the same amount of money that people in some countries make in a day. It doesn’t matter how hard they work, or how many hours they put in. One or two dollars is all they can earn. That’s all anyone will pay them. This is chronic, intractable poverty, and it’s real.

So if you give a little extra, you can double somebody’s pay for one whole day. You really do have the ability to do that!

A lot of us work for more than money. A lot of us work hard because we’ve also set goals. We say, “I want to achieve something great! I want to get that raise, or that promotion, so that’s my goal. That’s achievement, man! That’s doing something great.”

That’s awesome, because there is so much you can do with that kind of ambition! Think about it. What’s the point of being great, if it’s just to be great? That’s boring. Wouldn’t you rather turn that ambition into a means to an end?

Are you working hard because you want to be the president of your company? Yes? Okay. But why?

“Well,” you might say, “because that’s my goal!”

But why is it your goal? What are you aiming for? Two million dollars a year? Ten? Fifteen? That’s awesome, but why? Why do you want to be rich? What for?

You might be thinking that you’d like to buy cars and boats and houses. You probably want to fly all over the world and enjoy luxuries. I understand! I think almost everybody understands. But the thing is, you can only do that so much. There are only so many boats or cars or houses you can buy before you start to get bored.

As a baseball player, I was all over the income map. I started out in apartments with the minimum, and now I live in a beautiful home. And I’ve learned that they both achieve the same thing. I sit on the couch and watch TV. I go in the kitchen and cook food.

It’s not like I wake up every morning in awe. It eventually becomes normal. It’s just a place to live.

So to me, if the only reason you want to work hard is to be in a beautiful home, eventually you’ll be disappointed. We all need more. We want fulfillment, man. That’s what we really want.

I understand working hard because you want to have a nice house for your family. We all want safety and comfort. But we can do so much more. We can dream much, much bigger dreams, and we can achieve them, too.

I found fulfillment in working hard because it gave me the ability to help out someone else. There are so many people out there who work just as hard as I ever did, and will never, ever, ever, be able to make more than two or three dollars a day. Those are the people I keep in my thoughts, every day of my life.

Did you know that you can actually help someone start a business, in countries like Uganda, Kenya, India, or Haiti?  You don’t even need much money. You can do microloans.

Here’s an idea. Get together with your yoga club or your youth group and put in a well. Depending on where you put your efforts, you can provide clean water for a whole village for as little as $2,000. Or you can use all that hard work and ambition and go as high as $10,000. Challenge yourselves!

There are a lot of things a well can do that we don’t think about, like provide education for a village’s children.

I got an education, and I never had to think twice about it. One morning my parents said, “You have to go to school,” and so I went to school. But there are kids all over the world who say, “I’d like to go to school. But I’m too sick. I don’t have clean drinking water. I’m literally wasting away from diarrhea. I’m so weak that I can’t walk.”

Or they say, “I want to go to school. But I don’t have time. My mom needs clean water to cook food and wash clothes, and we need drinking water too. But the well with the clean water is in another village, so I have to walk seven miles a day to bring forty gallons home.”

That’s why I want to encourage you to work hard and achieve at a high level! Then you can get together with three other people, and the four of you can chip in $2,000 each. With that, you can provide fresh water for 1500 people for life. You will eliminate 90% of their diseases. The kids can go to school and get educated, just like we got educated, without ever thinking twice about it.

If we can truly grasp what other people are going through, we’re going to want to work harder. Our goals will change. Our concept of greatness will change! You’ll say, “I want to be the president of this company so that I can make the rules.” Then when you become president you’ll say, “The rule is that a portion of this company’s funds is going to build wells.”

What do you think of that? Aspire to be a successful entrepreneur, so that you can take your company and go help people!

The world is full of opportunities for fulfillment, if you’re not just working for a paycheck and thinking only of your own comfort. There is so much you can achieve, if you start thinking about how to love your neighbor! That’s when you’ll really start to tick. That’s when you’ll truly enjoy life!

A Movement to Bring Joy to the World

In April 2012, I published my first book, To Stir a Movement. It describes my coming of age as a baseball player, and as a man. It explains my passion for loving my neighbor as myself.

You might ask, what movement? Who is your neighbor? How do you show your love?

The movement I have in mind begins with awareness. It begins with the awareness that people all over the world, our neighbors and God’s children, are suffering. It’s the awareness that we are called to help.

This is awareness that goes much further than just knowing the world has problems. We all know the world has problems. I’m talking about a much deeper awareness. It it a profound awareness that you can help. You can make the world so much better.

How? Well, you can take part in ending the hunger crisis. Or you can play a role in ending the water crisis. You know what? You can help provide homes and families for orphans. You can even help end human trafficking, and restore the lives of its survivors. It’s true! You can do this!

And when you do, you’ll discover an awareness that goes deeper than anything you imagined. An awareness deeper than knowing. Deeper than doing. You’ll discover the awareness of the joy that you just created in someone else’s life!

You see, when you help someone, you give them joy. They feel joy because of you. Because you helped them. That joy is nothing less than the love of Jesus. That’s the awareness I’m talking about!

In 2010, two young women went to Uganda on my behalf to help build a well in a village in the south. Generation Alive, the youth organization I founded, built this well in partnership with Living Water International, a water charity headquartered in Houston, Texas.

Those two young women sent me pictures. I got to see what happened the day they busted the well. As clean water poured out, the kids were standing under it. They were washing themselves in it. This was clean water and they were rejoicing. I’ve never seen anything like it!

Now 90% of the diseases in their village are history. All it took was good, clean drinking water.

Here’s a video of the dedication of the well:

Look at the faces of those kids! Look at the joy that’s on their faces! That’s just for water! It’s the same water that’s in my toilet bowl, and these kids are actually rejoicing in it. This is so awesome! We flush our toilets every day and we don’t even think twice! Right? When do you flush your toilet and then rejoice over the water that’s in the bowl?

If I wanted to, I could go to a restaurant and say, “I don’t like this water, I’d like a different kind. Bring me the one in the blue bottle.” It’s that easy for us. We can actually choose our drinking water based on brand, or flavor, or bubbles. In Uganda, we’re talking about kids that are rejoicing because finally, they have water that simply isn’t dirty. Finally, their water won’t make them sick.

When those two young women from Generation Alive walked through the village, people rejoiced just to see them. The kids latched onto their legs and held their hands. They danced and sang for them, and they said, “We thank you so much! You’re a part of our lives now!” All we did was help them, but it earned us an invitation to speak into their lives. My girls got to sit with them. They got to talk with them. They just got to love on them.

That’s the cup of love. It is fabulous. It’s the love of Jesus!

And that’s what stirs this movement. It’s the love of Jesus. Give it a shot! As soon as you help create joy in someone, you’ll know. You’ll know by the way it fulfills you. You’ll know by the way that your spiritual hunger gets fed. You’ll find out that there’s something inside of you that craves Jesus.

Those who have Him want more of Him. You know why? Because He’s awesome.

See you Friday.

The Antidote to Misery

A lot of baseball players are millionaires, but even so, we can experience misery. We can buy two, or three, or four cars. We can buy boats. We can buy houses. But we figure out pretty quick that money doesn’t make things joyful. And if you don’t know how to use it, it can give you more headaches. Continue reading

Fulfilled by Work

Last time I suggested that working to earn money and achieve our goals is important, but that we as human beings need something more. Let me put that into perspective. Americans aren’t the only people to work hard, but we are among the few who are able to achieve success from our hard work. In some countries, people never make more than two or three dollars a day, no matter how hard they work. They never work their way out of poverty because they literally can’t. There’s just no way to do it.

There are so many people out there in the world who work just as hard as we do and will never, ever, ever, be able to make more than two or three dollars a day, unless something changes. You can help. Continue reading

A Drama Unfolding

How should Christians help sinners? Should we box them on the ears with our Bibles? How about loving on them? Isn’t that better than judging? How about trying to figure out truly why they are not living how they should?

There’s always a drama unfolding, behind every face. So why not truly look at somebody and ask, “Why are they doing that?” Continue reading

Serving Like Jesus

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Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to share my dreams with you by describing my organization’s REACH program. We’re trying to create a generation that has come alive in Christ.

REACH starts with water. Water is the source of life. But people all over the world live without access to clean water. Their water makes them sick. They need wells.

For eight thousand dollars your youth group can build a fresh-water well. You’ll change a community of fifteen hundred people! It’ll erase 90% of diseases in that community. They will flourish!

Generation Alive is trying to get youth groups and young kids to try this. Suppose you have a youth group of one hundred kids. We want to get one hundred kids to figure out some way to raise eighty dollars each in three months. Eighty dollars! That’s it.

Do you think we can do that? Continue reading