“Follow the grain in your own wood.” — Howard Thurman

Last week I talked about living an authentic life, a life where you first determine what is truly important to you and then you make sure your daily actions, time and financial commitments are aligned with those priorities.

There are a lot of good and valuable things in this world – ways to spend your time, charities for your donations, causes in which you can become involved. But it’s important to really understand that not every good and valuable priority needs to be YOUR priority.

Take your congregation, for example. All of the following are important endeavors: children’s ministry, missions, charity and resources for the less fortunate, Bible studies, musical worship, support groups for various needs. Even though each of these areas (and so many more) are important, you don’t have to devote your time or money to all of them. It’s important to do a few things well, rather than doing a lot of things badly. Choose a couple that really mean something to you and get involved. If you have more time and another opportunity comes along, try it out and see if you can add the new opportunity without shortchanging the commitments you’ve already made. We need to be true to our word and follow through on our commitments, instead of flitting from one thing to the next to the next, and not really contributing to anything.

We need to get involved in the area(s) where we have passion. We need to shed the guilt of thinking we need to do it all. It all needs to be done, but not everything is important to everyone. Or it may be, but not the same extent. If you have a heart for missions, great. If you don’t have a heart for missions, but children are your thing, go for children’s ministry without the guilt that you’re not on fire for missions. Trust that God will put the desire for missions into someone else.

How do you know what area is your passion? Think about what makes your heart ACHE. Then look for ways to reduce suffering there. If single moms make you HURT, then find a support group for single moms and volunteer. There are a million hurts in the world. Figure out which one really gets to you and find a way to alleviate suffering in that area.

I started this post out with a quote by Howard Thurman.  He also said, “Ask not what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive . . . then go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”


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