I like to read novels that distract me from the aggravations of rush hour frenzy as I commute to and from work. Currently, I’m enjoying Jonathan Kellerman’s novel “Self Defense” (number 9 in the Dr. Alex Delaware series). Police detective Milo Sturgis is telling Alex about a crime, committed in another district, similar to one he had recently solved. Milo tells Alex he is “involved but not committed. Know the difference? In a ham-and-egg breakfast, the chicken is involved but the pig is committed”.
To what degree am I involved, and to what degree am I committed, in the life I lead? I asked myself that question, and I challenge you to do the same. In what are you involved? To what are you committed? And what would you change, if you could?
I am always impressed by people who have it all together – or at least seem to. People who are able to achieve that elusive goal – a well-rounded life. Although it depends on your definition of well-roundedness and the metrics by which you measure it.
One of my heroes, Paul (formerly Saul of Tarsus) – Jewish superstar turned Christian super-apostle – was involved in persecuting followers of the Way. While travelling on the road to Damascus, he met Jesus and was completely transformed by the encounter. Paul became committed to Christ. Where once he inflicted suffering on others, now he suffered for his faith.
Paul was a missionary and travelled widely. He enjoyed meeting people, getting to know them, encouraging them in their faith, teaching them, and earnestly praying for their needs. He spent a lot of time in jail, so he wrote letters to his network of friends and fellow believers, dispatching them via trusted assistants.
One of my favourites is Paul’s letter to Christians in the city of Philippi. He wrote: I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.
That’s from The Message paraphrase of the Bible. The New Living Translation puts it this way: I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.
That is my goal; to learn to live consistently as a person of excellence excellence and integrity – regardless of my circumstances. Thank God I don’t have to do it alone. The Bible has been called ‘the handbook for living’ and it’s chock full of good advice. Heroes and villains. Success and failure. Life lessons to learn and the Holy Spirit to help us apply those truths, as we work toward the goal of becoming more like Jesus. Fulfilling our destiny and purpose.
Still, it’s not easy, and I can use all the help I can get. My next step is to refresh myself by rereading “The Me I Want to Be” by John Ortberg, senior pastor at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church in California. I will read it at home, over the summer.
Or maybe on my commute to work?