Remember when we were kids how we had dreams of the person we wanted to be when we grew up? Some dreams were based on what our parents did, some were based on what we saw on television or in the movies, and still others were inspired by our comic books. As we grew older, the fantastical dreams of youth began to fade and were replaced with less imaginative dreams that we deemed possible. Once we entered adulthood our focus shifted to those dreams that would make us the most money or secure the lifestyle we wanted to live. Many of us simply stopped dreaming all together. Our dreams became swallowed up in the drudgery and responsibilities of everyday tasks. Life came calling and we sacrificed the aspirations of our youth on the altar of rational expectations. We became what we were expected to be, rather than who we were created to be.
Is this all there is? Is this the abundant life that Jesus promised to those who would follow Him? Where in Scripture are we commanded to pursue the things of this world in order that we might obtain a more comfortable lifestyle? What I see instead is a challenge to live life with a faith so focused on Christ that we don’t worry about what we will eat or drink, or about what we will wear (Matthew 6:31-33); loving God with all of our heart, soul and mind is what drives us forward each day, the beauty that compels us to serve others for His glory (Matthew 22:37-38). We are commanded to love God and love people. Within this context we find all we will ever desire from life. As we set out to serve those around us we rediscover creative means to utilize long hidden gifts and passions. Each of us were created to do good works for the purposes of Christ (Ephesians 2:10). As we fulfill those purposes we find ourselves discovering true abundance in life.
The dreams of our youth were placed inside us to inspire thoughts of what could be accomplished in the world if we would only dare to believe. Too many of us let others talk us out of the possible in order that we might pursue only the probable. There was nothing ordinary about the way Jesus lived His life, nor is there anything mundane about the life He calls each of us to live. We are called to love and to serve in extraordinary ways. The actions in which we engage on Christ’s behalf need not necessarily be some grandiose demonstration; rather, simple acts of kindness and service can have an impact beyond our wildest dreams. A simple smile for one who is normally overlooked can change the course of their life forever. Taking just a moment to make eye contact with a homeless person, to share a kind word or a couple of dollars may convince them there is a reason to go on. It may communicate to them that they are loved by someone and perhaps this would be the catalyst that allows them to encourage others or even to set a new course for their life. One moment, one smile, and you can alter a life forever.
Just as all actions need not be huge in the grand scheme of things, sometimes we must engage in the utterly absurd in order to live out the mission of Christ. Perhaps there would be no hunger in the world if we would simply stop being obsessed with our salaries and 401(k) plans. Maybe it’s time we let go of the things we perceive to be our security in this world, throw caution to the wind and recklessly devote ourselves to an impossibly big challenge just to see what God might do with our leap of faith. Whether we are compelled to deceptively small or extravagantly large acts of service, together we will discover the life we were created to live, and together we will further the mission of Christ.
What dreams have you long ago abandoned in order to live what most would perceive to be a responsible life? What passions have you buried so that you might fall in line with the expectations of culture and society? Jesus didn’t call us to be part of the status quo; He called us to live a life that looks like His. He called us to follow Him. What might become of our lives if we returned to the imagination of our youth? How might we creatively discover fantastic new ways to serve others and reflect His love to the world at large? What have you left behind that should be retrieved and used for His glory?
Our only true responsibility is to become the person He created us to be. I encourage you to let go of the expectations of others, the opinions that confine you in a life of mediocrity. Embrace the work He created you to do; shine with the passion He placed inside you to accomplish all He has put before you. In this way you will find the abundant life; in this way you will discover what it truly means to be His hands and His feet in a world that cries out for the love of Jesus. Rediscover and start living your dreams today. Do it for the world, and do it for His glory.