Working From The Soul

29 04 2010

Colossians 3:23 this morning: “Whatever you are doing, work at it with enthusiasm, as to the Lord and not for people…;” in the original Greek, enthusiasm is “from the soul.”

Ever tried to define “soul”? Here are three attempts: (thanks wordcentral.com):

1 : the spiritual part of a person believed to give life to the body and in many religions thought to live forever.
2: the necessary part of something…(ie. “soul of the campaign”)
3: the part of one’s personality having to do with feelings and the sense of what is right and wrong.

When I think of “work,” I don’t usually equate it with my soul but this is on my mind. Last night Alecia and I were talking about her next steps, her goals, her gifts, her questions. We talked about “being practical” versus “pursuing adventure.” How do you figure out what you will do? All those BIG questions.

Our Work and our Life are so tightly tied together that at times they can seem like one thing; whatever we end up doing along the way, the Bible calls us to work at it with all our soul as to the Lord. I really like where this is going…

Definition 1: we have something that is “us.” It is what gives us life and makes us unique. I think, when looking at what we ought to do, we ought to look at our soul.  Who are we?  What is our unique footprint to look like on this earth?  Why in the world do we think this way versus another? Why do we find joy in this one thing (as strange as it may be)? Why do we feel especially passionate about certain topics? Doesn’t all that matter? Are those just frivolous things, better suited to hobbies than our life’s work?

One of the definitions of “practical” (as in, “you should be practical about this”) is “being able to put to use.” I think God was counting on us being very practical about putting to use the soul He sewed into us. I think when we listen to what He is saying to our souls, what we do, in honour of His name, will really matter. What we do will feel more like a mission than simply “work” and it will impact others because it will contribute to His overall plan. If this sounds grandiose, I don’t mean it that way. I have found that at times God has called me to some pretty simple things that I have found tremendous joy in; I can’t even explain why, I just know that somehow I was listening and carried out His idea.

Definition 2: the necessary part of something. What gives something “soul”? Belief. Passion. Joy. Commitment. It is pretty captivating to work alongside someone who believes in what they do. I listen to the CBC (whenever my kids don’t change the station); I even listen to the things that “aren’t me” at all because I am interested in what people are interested in. I don’t like gardening and I am really bad at keeping any sort of plant alive (including cactuses) but when Brian Minter talks about plants, I am just drawn into that world. How can he know so much about plants? How can he be so passionate about it. I listen because you can tell it really matters to him and that is fascinating to me. Find something that really matters to you and you will give it soul. You will, because something in you connects to it in a way that someone else might not.

Definition 3: Having said all that, I think it is too simple to look at what you are good at or like. In a broken down world, Christ-followers are called to rebuild something. The prayer I pray over our kids is found in Isaiah 58 (read the whole chapter, it is pretty powerful stuff when considering one’s calling in life) verse 12:

Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

If we are to be a part of the Mission, “your Kingdom come on earth….as it is in heaven” then we better find what has been imprinted on our souls and do it.  Our life, our work, absolutely has to do with making a difference. It doesn’t mean everyone is going to lead a charitable organization, but it does mean that every Christ-follower will make every organization more charitable.

When going after the Big Question, “What should I do,” look around at the world…what should we do about this? No one gets a pass. No one gets to cheer on the sideline. We are all part of the greater purpose of God.

How will this all come together? Just daily listening; just daily obedience: “But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul.” (Deuteronomy 4:29)

— Teresa Klassen

Afterword: Hey, here is another blog on this topic. I get updates on Twitter from Donald Millers Blog. For another take, click here and read this.

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