Back in 2007, there two quarterbacks in competition for the starting job at Oregon; Dennis Dixon and Brady Leaf. The sole reason why I liked and why I felt more confident with Dennis instead of Brady was because Dennis could not only throw the ball well, but when his arm wasn’t working, his legs were. He had great versatility, which was (and still is) perfect for Oregon offense.
I just finished watching The Social Network, a movie based on the true story of Mark Zuckerberg and his co-founding of Facebook. And on my drive home I thought of a bunch of different things I’d love to do with my life; I’d love to write a book, I’d love to make some documentaries, I’d love to write messages as and/or for a pastor, and I’d love to maybe even make some music. My friend Justin was in the car with me and was talking about two avenues of his life that he could pursue, but wasn’t sure which one he was more attracted to. When I responded, I heard my own dilemma (the one which is undecided as to which “thing” I’d like to do first) being answered.
Why not both?
The only thing stopping any of us from living out our passions is our mental approach to them; we’re only as motivated as we allow ourselves to be. More often than not we let our dreams fall by the wayside because we’re too afraid of failure, too afraid of trying without succeeding. But what did John Wooden once say, defining success? To him success is “Peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”
In other words, laying it all out there, win or lose.
I think we’re all more versatile than we think. I think we can all achieve something beyond what we think we can achieve. We’re made in the image and likeness of God, which isn’t to say that we are God or that we can be just like Mark Zuckerberg with the right idea and the right formula to make it all work. But it is to say that we were made to be big dreamers and not only that, but we were made to surprise people – even ourselves.
Before I watched The Social Network, I heard a message at Cross Training wherein the key phrase was simply, “You live what you believe.” Or as Philippians 3:16 says, “Only let us hold true to what we have attained.” None of that is possible if we have a limited view of how far our passions can take us.
Again, I do not mean to say that we should all be like Mark Zuckerberg and make billion-dollar corporations off of a social networking site. But I am saying that I find it a common tendency for people to find jobs instead of create them.
In the parable of the talents, each was given a different amount; five, two, and one. For much of my life I merely looked at this from a financial perspective; that God places us in various financial situations in order to see what kind of revenue we can make out of it. But this idea quickly evaporated when I looked at the spiritual teaching of this passage. Jesus (a.k.a. the landowner) isn’t entrusting us with different-sized bank accounts to see what investments we can make; He’s giving us each different abilities, different capacities and seeing what we would do with it – to see if we would live what we believe or hold true to what we have attained.
Unlike Mark Zuckerberg, though, we’re working in an entirely non-profit kingdom. Jesus doesn’t want money out of what we do; He can make a fish cough up the money He needs (Matthew 17:27). He wants us to spread the life that He has given us, in whatever amount that may be. Holding true to what we have attained, as Paul talks about, is holding true not only to the revelations we have had from Jesus, but from the passions He has given us as well. What have I attained? A passion for writing, film-making and possibly even music-making (I don’t know I’ve been tripping on a high dosage of inspiration lately). The decision I have before me is not to sift through it all and find the one or two things to focus on and run with, but to see just how much I’m truly capable of.
And who knows, God might surprise me.