I am a baby boomer who has entered midlife. Exactly 20 years ago I walked onto a seminary campus to prepare for "a lifetime of ministry." Campus Crusade had just sponsored the highly successful Explo Conference. I had great expectations. Having an impact on the world for Jesus Christ was about as high a goal as I could imagine. So with all the gusto I could give, I went for the gold--which, to me, meant going to seminary.
Back then I thought a successful Christian life meant being a winner for God, taking control (with the aid of the Spirit, of course), and doing all I could for his kingdom. What could be a higher calling? What could be more fulfilling?
Many of those I went to college with and worked with in Young Life shared these hopes. Their zeal to make a difference for Christ in the marketplace was just as great as mine. The many tasks left to do for the kingdom would fall into our generation's hands in the near future. The essence of our spirituality was to do all we could for God in the 40 or so years we had.
I do not know when I began to question seeing the spiritual life in terms of tasks to be managed and completed. Nor do I remember exactly when I came to see how subtly cultural values had shaped my original vision of God's call. There was no shining experience of encountering God. But at some point, the focus changed, the direction altered. I began to consider whether the race I was running was the race God had called me to run. Was I on the track he had led me to, or on one I had designed?
I now see my call differently. There are still tasks, even great ones, to be accomplished. The demands of life and ministry continue to be great. The pace has not abated; in fact, there are more responsibilities all around. The ...1
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