(A meditation I gave our North Campus students ten days before Thanksgiving.)
This morning, I am going to tell each and every one of you what God wants you to be when you grow up. You’re going to have to pay attention because I’m going to move very quickly, but by the end of our time this morning, you will know God’s will for your life.
Before I get to you, though, I thought you might like to know what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up.
When I was five or six, I wanted to be a farmer like my father. I loved my dad and he loved what he did, so I thought that seemed to make sense. But our farm had been in our family for five generations and I was scared I would mess it all up, so that didn’t really work out.
Like a lot of boys, I went through a firefighter phase, mostly because I watched a lot of Emergency! and the trucks were big and red and the idea of driving one seemed pretty neat (unlike the idea of actually fighting fires, which I had no desire to do).
I remember also thinking about becoming an astronaut, but I was afraid if my nose itched I wouldn’t be able to scratch it while wearing my spacesuit, so that was out.
When I was 10, I wanted to be an archaeologist like Indiana Jones, because finding things like the Ark of the Covenant and Holy Grail before the bad guys did just seemed awesome. I later learned that that’s not what most (if any) archaeologists do.
When I was 12, I wanted to be a professional baseball player and play for anyone who would take me. I wasn’t bad and I would have played for free, but most major league teams don’t take 12-year-olds except as bat boys and that was when I peaked.
When I turned 16, I wanted to be a rock star. I got my first keyboard and started writing songs. I visited and dreamed about moving to Nashville, which lasted until I was about 25, when I figured out I wanted to be a husband and got married instead.
When I turned 27, I became a father for the first time and liked it so much that I did it three more times. I still like being a father and am just glad I have the kids I have because I’m not very good at it.
When I turned 30, I went through a slight mid-life crisis ten years early and thought I might like to be an FBI agent. I actually filled out a preliminary application, but the Bureau apparently didn’t like “Because I like The X-Files” in answer to their question of “Why do you want to be an FBI agent?”
Through most of my early thirties, I wanted to be a published author, which I became; however, unless your published book sells millions and millions of copies (which mine didn’t), you usually have to write more than one for that to work out.
From there, I wanted to be a college professor, so I went to graduate school and graduated, but I never went on to get those letters behind my name so I could put Dr. in front of my name. And that was okay.
In my mid-to-late 30s, I became a teacher like my mom and my grandfather, and then when I turned 40, I became a Head of School for the first time. My mother wasn’t convinced I knew what I was doing and asked me if I was qualified for the job. I honestly didn’t know and couldn’t think of a good answer, so I just said “No.”
I won’t bore you with my tales of being a nursing home touring musician, or Christmas tree shearer, or Illinois State Capitol tour guide, or camp director, or conference coordinator, or graphic designer/webmaster. Good times, all.
So what is God’s will for your life? Same as it’s been for me these past 42 years, as found in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18:
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
What does God want you to be when you grow up? Thankful.
Better get to it.