What do you want to be when you grow up? How many times in your life have you been asked that question? Like so many, I wasn’t sure which path to take. The possibilities seemed like a never ending buffet!! I had many great influences and role models I my life but hadn’t up-chucked the world at that point! And after all and once again, I had plenty of time to make right my course. So, what does God want me to do?
Some folks have asked which path they should take in life or which career and I usually respond that it is easier to use the talents God has given us and glorify Him with that work. Don’t try to be something you are not, we already have enough imposters! Perhaps we all have many choices or interests, which leave us with the ability to choose one that is most God-pleasing. Remember, we cannot serve two masters! (Matt 6:24) You have most definitely been called to a life-long career to serve God. With every choice and in every place, God first!
But, we must get busy. What are we waiting for? The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy: “And at the same time they also learn to be idle, going about the houses, and not only idle, but also babblers and busybodies, speaking things which are not needful.” [1 Tim. 5:13] Is there a right time or do we think we need a sign? From the wisdom of Ecclesiastes, hear these words: “Farmers who wait for perfect weather never plant.” (Ecclesiastes 11:4-6) Or maybe we prefer a proverb: “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.” (Proverbs 16:27)
Growing up then is being a God-seeking servant wherever you work and wherever your feet find themselves anchored! Maybe my wife is trying to help after all when I seem to be direction challenged keeping me on the right path when she tells me to grow up? St. Philaret of Moscow writes: “Every Christian should find for himself the imperative and incentive to become holy. If you live without struggle and without hope of becoming holy, then you are Christians only in name and not in essence. But without holiness, no one shall see the Lord, that is to say they will not attain eternal blessedness. It is a trustworthy saying that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners (I Tim. 1:15). But we deceive ourselves if we think that we are saved while remaining sinners. Christ saves those sinners by giving them the means to become saints.” (St. Philaret of Moscow, Sermon of September 23, 1847)
At this juncture as we near the end of the Apostles fast, we remember all of these men who were asked to make a sacrifice by changing careers and lifestyles and follow Christ and build His church! As I was reflecting on the Gospel reading for this morning (Matt 8:28-9:1), I was thinking how wonderful it would have been if the pig farmers tending the herd had been called to be Apostles as well, and we would be enjoying bacon during this fast instead of fish! Well, we all know that fish is much healthier than pork!! And wouldn’t that throw a monkey wrench into the Church Typicon!
Well we are not all called to serve in that capacity but we are called to be Apostles by being a living Gospel at home, at work and wherever we inhale and exhale God’s creation. Saint Nicholas of Serbia reminds us: “Just as people do not enter a war in order to enjoy war, but in order to be saved from war, so we do not enter this world in order to enjoy this world, but in order to be saved from it. People go to war for the sake of something greater than war. So we also enter this temporal life for the sake of something greater: for eternal life, and as soldiers think with joy about returning home, so also Christians constantly remember the end of their lives and their return to their heavenly fatherland.” (St. Nicholas of Serbia, Thoughts on Good and Evil)