Just recently, amidst the chaotic headlines of monkeypox, political drama, and the NFL pre-season, a little-known Christian pastor, theologian, and author passed from this world into the next, at the age of 96. His name is Frederick Buechner, the author of 39 published books.
I share this because Buechner was a writer, who unbeknownst to him, profoundly shaped my thinking and understanding of the gospel and what it means to be a lover and follower of Christ. In my young days as a believer, someone gifted me a ragged copy of Buechner’s book, ‘Wishful Thinking’, which showed me a lot about applying the basic principles of God’s love to my everyday life and thinking and dreaming.
I could go on for pages on all the ways something Buechner wrote or said spoke volumes to me. Instead, I’ll share just one that I hope brings the joy, release, and fresh perspective to you that it did to me the first time I read it. Regarding uncovering our purpose in life and vocation Frederick Buechner said,
“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deepest hunger meet.”
If we can agree (and I think we can) that the deepest hunger of our world is the need for Jesus, then the point where that which brings you the most joy intersects with introducing others to the One they hunger for is where you and your heart belong. That can mean an actual vocation, or a call to full time ministry or mission work, but it might not be that complicated. What’s that hobby, pastime, or skill that brings the biggest smile to your face every time you get to do it?
I think of the guy I knew with a love for model trains – he asked for an empty back corner of a church room to build a model railroad, and invited neighborhood kids to come help him out. Within months, that ministry grew to impact countless kids with the Gospel. Then there is the lady I bumped into one time at a local hospital who loved flower arranging. She worked out a deal with a local florist to get the flowers that didn’t sell, created arrangements with them (including a Bible verse), and gifted them to hospital patients whose rooms looked a little drab. The conversations she got to have with people who were hurting and vulnerable meant eternity became real for some.
If you’re asking yourself, “Is this really what I’m made for?”, my prayer is that Buechner’s words provide a bit of a compass toward the answer for you. It’s never too late – both my model train friend and the flower lady were in their 70’s when they finally found their special place in the Kingdom. And both would tell you, there is no feeling in all that we as humans feel that is quite as joy-filled as doing that thing He’s created you to do.
Brand Director, STAR 99.1
Hello Matt! This really hit home for me. There is a beautiful poem called “The Rider’s Prayer” and one verse asks God to fill my life with them (horses) and when I leave this place send me to no Heaven without them. For you have graced me with a love of these animals . . .All my life I have loved horses; riding, working with them, taking care of them, and 8 years ago I began volunteering at a therapeutic riding farm for special needs children and adults. I thought, what a perfect, meaningful way to help others and serve God with something I have a passion for – horses. They had healed me and filled a void, and now I am doing God’s work in helping others, me and my willing, four-legged partner. I know this was God’s plan for me, and I praise him for it everyday!
Marilyn- I’m so thrilled to hear that you’re getting to use your love for horses to show His love to others. God give good gifts, doesn’t He?
I have always had a passion for music and it gives me the deepest heart connection with my Savior when I sing at my church, whether it is in the pew or as part of our music ministry. I was once part of a contemporary band called Joshua’s Trumpet. We not only led church service but were invited to nursing homes, rehab centers and even the Ocean Grove, NJ pavilion on the beach to play. I have so many fond memories of that time! I’ve also been asked to sing at weddings and funerals, and have received many compliments over the years on my voice. I am always humbled by this. I know my voice is one of God’s greatest gifts to me, and I shall continue to give Him the glory by singing His praises for as long as I am able to do so!
Mary- thank you for sharing how God is calling you to use your gifts. That deep heart connection that you describe is very special!
This is a great word! This is exactly what I’ve been praying for, thank you for sharing.
Laura- Thanks for reading, and I hope it can be an encouragement to you.
I been praying for God to give us strength to deal with what is going on in the world, it’s lot going on . But I put my trust in God ! We just need to keep focus on God ! 🙏🥰
Amen, Nancy – thanks for reading!
Beautiful poem thanks for sharing 🙏🥰