Most of the men of 1720 are in a similar situations. Life is, in theory, good. They have nice upper middle class houses. Perhaps they drive a premium car or two. They have a few kids that are doing pretty well. In terms of, Maslow's hierarchy of needs, they have met all of their lower level needs; often in abundance. By all outward, worldly, appearances they are crushing it. But inside, they know something is missing and continuing this existence fills them with a dull, numbing, dread.
When I started the 1720 journey, I was one of these men. I was rolling down a very dark hill and gaining speed. I was suffering from the numbing, lukewarm, existence that is the American middle class. I was not living the adventure God put in my heart. I was existing. I wanted more, but needed nothing. There was little reason for God to show up, much less perform any miracles.
God has pretty clear feelings about this type of existence. “I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Revelation 3:15-16) A Lukewarm hero makes for a crappy movie and a wasted life.
Lukewarm is in the definition of “middle” right between hot and cold. Make no mistake the devil wants to keep us in the middle living a lukewarm existence. By making the middle seem like the smart and safe path, he ensnares us. He tells us to minimize our risks; to play it safe. Families tell their son’s it is ok to try risky things as long as there is a back up plan. This is partly to justify their own safe choices and partly because it is good “practical” advice. But, it is just this kind of “practical” advice the devil loves.
“There is a pathway that seems right to a man, but in the end it’s a road to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)
For most of us, we just sort of... arrived here and the idea of following one’s calling - now - appears foolish and even dangerous. Your neighbors and life long friends will question this decisions. A choice to seek one's calling may even appear weak; like you have been beaten by the world and are giving up on achieving the highest levels of worldly value.
But God loves using the foolish and the weak. “Not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27). He is calling you to confound the world.
So called “reality” has kicked and beaten back our callings. They are no longer the strong urge for adventure we experienced as children - when dreams flowed like rivers. Now, we are left only with this dull feeling that something is wrong. Our history of compromise and broken promises makes it difficult to dream. In fact, when most men are press to fill their vision boards with something beyond empty material things, they struggle! Their dreams have long since been stolen and replace by reasonable expectations that do little to stir the spirt and nothing to change the world.
After reality has done its job, finding one’s calling is less like a burning bush experience and more like the start of a journey without a clear end in mind. Faith is required and many will struggle with their fist steps. The following three principles will put anyone seeking their calling on a path to fulfillment and a life of adventure.
The path back to your calling is most likely right in front of you:
For a few, following their calling may require blowing up their lives and moving the family to Africa to dig wells. If you feel this is the case for you, then you are already well down the path toward your calling. If you are like most and have only just begun to recognize the gap between their life and their calling, then the next step is rarely as dramatic. In most cases, you can begin with an opportunity God has already put in front of you.
Picking the right opportunity is Key:
While the opportunity is most definitely right in front of you, it may be hidden among many opportunities. Remember the devil is also at work here and he has no interest in your emergence from your lukewarm existence. He has all kinds of cool tricks to make his opportunities more enticing. But, they have a “tell” that is easy to recognize. If the hallmark of a lukewarm life is safety, feelings of security and a false sense of self importance, then the opportunity you are looking for is not that. The opportunity that will lead to your calling will scare you a bit, will not be a sure thing, and will require some humility.
God is a required participant:
The opportunity you are looking for will require God to show up in an unexpected way. The right opportunity will require you to step out of your comfort zone, but success will require God to show up. As we mentioned, God likes to use people from the middle to confound the wise. If, based on your skills and personality, friends and family would look at your success in the selected opportunity as a given; then there is little chance God will get the glory. Therefore, to find your calling you must look for that thing that requires God to be a participant without whom you would fail.
God did not call you to be a middle class citizen. You have been given a purpose and a calling. Now is the time to get started or risk staying exactly where the Devil wants you; in the lukewarm middle.