Tonight I was at crosspoint and Pete shared this message entitled “empty promises.” There was this one train of thought that rocked my world. He discussed the idea that a lot of 22 and 23 year olds are feeling the pressure, depression, anxiety and frustrations that come along with a “mid-life” crisis. Yet they (I) am so young and there is no reason to be experiencing these pressures at our age. Pete said that the reason is because “our society has become so performance driven.”
I finally feel that I can put into words the thing that has been bothering me; I have made success and credit my idols. I have this huge desire to succeed and be known. As Pete pointed out; some idols are not necessarily bad things, “but left unchecked can become trouble in our life.” I always feel like I have to succeed and that time is ticking away, that life is passing me by. Some of it I get from seeing these young actors, singers, etc… on tv just soaring to these lavish titles and positions.
I want to be successful and I would like to be famous or well known, but are these desires of the flesh? I feel like my desire to succeed when put in the right context and for the purpose of the kingdom is a good thing, but to desire to be famous…not so much. Erwin McManus once asked, “do you want to be famous or do you want to be great?” What’s the line? I see all these famous faces on tv and I want to roll with them and live like they do. This is my confession, I think I have lost track of what life is really about. I don’t know, I hope that by working through this with God through prayer I can discover the true meaning of GREAT. I pray that through Pete’s series, this blog, prayer with God, prayer from friends/family, support from you all…I can discover how to get out of this crisis, how to balance success and allow God to work on my heart when it comes to fame.
This critique is on Erwin McManus who spoke on March 10, 2010 during the Late afternoon.
Erwin McManus wanted to touch on two major themes throughout his presentation. The first idea was a statement which he felt needed to be driven into the core of our Christianity, “we have to stop acting as if we’ve earned the right to be heard and start doing things that are beautiful and compelling…” The second major idea to which he spent the most time addressing was the questions, what is the meaning of life?
Erwin Mcmanus provided two bits of information which I was not previously aware of. The first statement which really struck out to me was, “if your just working to pay the bills, your life will be meaningless.” This statement is powerful, because most people go through life simply just trying to survive. They want to make money and can’t even give a reason as to why they need to make tons of money. McManus told a story of his son and him having a conversation about meaning and purpose one day. His son talked about working for Erwin and how he wanted to make lots of money for his father. Erwin responded with, “why do we need lots of money?” The son replied, so that they will be able to do more things. To this Erwin replied that, “What things can we not do now?” After thinking about it, the son responded with a new answer, “I want to make money so I can help others realize their own specific purpose and meaning in life.” Money should not be our motive for “doing” life, money is simply one of the tools to enable us to live out “our purpose” which is that, “…everything we do is to bring meaning to others and the world.”
The second statement which struck me as unfamiliar was that, “Solomon was wrong.” This seemed crazy, even McManus admitted that when he first came to this conclusion it was scary and seemed “blasphemous.” In context however, it makes perfect sense. In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon talks about how there is “nothing new under the sun.” This is wrong and Erwin went on to show why he believes so, in the Bible, Jesus talks about the wineskins bursting because of new wine, and when God said, “I’m doing a new thing are you even going to be aware of it?” There are tons of examples even out of the Bible, such as traveling to the moon, ipods, cameras, television, vehicles, the light bulb and so many more. McManus was so passionate about explaining why this is untrue, because we as Christians, have become un-original and seem to think that the old way and old ideas are the only right way to go about life.
The most helpful part of this presentation for me was the idea of, “earning the right to be heard.” In our culture it becomes to easy for many people to simply believe that because they are in a certain class level, or have a certain title, that everyone should listen to them. Christians are especially guilty of this because we are responsible for spreading the “truth.” A lot of Christians just believe that because you’re right, you’re also healthy, but in reality “just because you’re right, does not mean you’re healthy. A lot of Christians know the truth, but are very cynical and judgmental in their approach to spread that truth. This type of approach is not helpful to anyone and is actually counterproductive in the goal of loving people. I will not forget this quote because it really inspires me to remain genuine and loving in my approach to help others.
“We need to find the ‘A’ place for every person and make every job meaningful.” This is so vital in not just the church, but also public companies as a whole. Every person working within your church or company needs to feel as though they are not only wanted, but needed. When people within your company feel like they are wanted and appreciated it raises their motivation and their sense of purpose.
When people feel this way they work harder and become viable assets to a company. On a spiritual level, these people will start to realize that there is more to life than just being successful at work, that there is more out there. They will feel good and be more open to the truth that money is not everything and that a life with God is far more valuable than any promotion. When others succeed because we in some way helped, we actually succeed as well, because we are all on the same team. Those who don’t know Christ are always searching for meaning and purpose to this life, it is the job of every Christian to show these people that purpose.