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This One Thing I Do

I am not the only one that wonders how life would have been different had I chosen a different vocation or direction in my life.  It is not that I am not delighted to have been a pastor for 46 years.  It is dynamic, challenging, fulfilling, and eternally rewarding.  It was God’s call on my life and He has confirmed that repeatedly along the way.  But, as I am now at the age that I do look back occasionally across a lifetime, I do wonder how things might have been different had I been a businessman, doctor, attorney, or some other vocation.

As a young man, so many things sounded exciting to me.  However, it did not take long to rule out medicine, pharmacy, architecture, or engineer as a vocational choice.  All of those fields and a host of others require that one is proficient in math.  That is not my forte!  I love to fly and would have enjoyed learning how to do that but, “uh-oh” is not good to hear from the pilot making an approach to land.  And, I love to teach and have often wondered where I would be had I entered the field of academia.  I just can’t see me in the regalia of a university or seminary for a lifetime. None of those are passions of mine now, but those fields and others are sometimes on my mind as I ponder “what might have been”.

Life demands that we make choices about a direction for our lives very early.  Decisions must be made about life direction after high school (military, college, or apprentice), degree(s) or job training in a craft, career decision, marriage or single, and a host of other options that have to be settled fairly early in life.  Once the choice is made, most of us will remain on that journey for all of our adult life.  We cannot be divided or unsettled in what we choose or we will be continually restless.  One finds fulfillment in doing what they love, and not in showing up to work for someone or some group that they have no interest in helping that entity to advance. We must be singular in our focus, settled in our decision, and steadfast in seeking to daily improve our performance.  In the Kingdom, Jesus said, “Seek first the Kingdom of God….” That is the calling of every Christ-follower regardless of what direction we take for a life’s journey!

Nothing that is valuable is achieved without effort. Fritz Kreisler, the famous violinist, testified to this point when he said, “Narrow is the road that leads to the life of a violinist. Hour after hour, day after day and week after week, for years, I lived with my violin. There were so many things that I wanted to do that I had to leave undone; there were so many places I wanted to go that I had to miss if I was to master the violin. The road that I traveled was a narrow road and the way was hard.”

“When I was a boy, my father, a baker, introduced me to the wonders of song,” tenor Luciano Pavarotti relates. “He urged me to work very hard to develop my voice. Arrigo Pola, a professional tenor in my hometown of Modena, Italy, took me as a pupil. I also enrolled in a teachers college. On graduating, I asked my father, ‘Shall I be a teacher or a singer?’ “‘Luciano,’ my father replied, ‘if you try to sit on two chairs, you will fall between them. For life, you must choose one chair.’ “I chose one. It took seven years of study and frustration before I made my first professional appearance. It took another seven to reach the Metropolitan Opera. And now I think whether it’s laying bricks, writing a book–whatever we choose–we should give ourselves to it. Commitment, that’s the key. Choose one chair.”  (Copied).