Barnabas Piper in his new book The Curious Christian argues curiosity can change the world, and destroy us, if not part of our daily lives.
Curiosity begins at birth and evolves into the question phase during childhood. Why is daddy so hairy? Where does God live? How many days until Christmas? Why does grandmas house smell funny?
We enter elementary school and around fourth grade curiosity is no longer fostered. The child settles for data, yes and no answers, and rote memorization of facts. A curiosity of the world and its inhabits thrown to the side for a black and white sterile world.
You may say curiosity is not important because that’s what children need. We are not children and have important adult things to do. And so, why care about this?
Dr. Amy L. Sherman defines vocational stewardship as:
The intentional and strategic deployment of our vocational power, knowledge, platforms, networks, position, influence, skills and reputation- to advance foretastes of God’s kingdom.
The average adult spends 45 hours a week working a job. Most people will spend 40% of their waking hours doing a form of labor.
Vocational stewardship suggests one of the primary opportunities for missional living for the common good of our cities will happen in our vocations. A major player in loving our neighbors and maturing in Christ will happen at work.
How can the church do a better job of equipping and training their people into seeing work as an essential pathway for discipleship and mission?
“Vocation is integral, not incidental, to the mission of God in the world.” -Steve Garber
God is a worker. He makes people in his likeness and image reflecting their Maker as workers.
The vocations, labors, and works of ordinary image bearers are essential to the work of God in the world. In the seemingly inconsequential daily work of people God’s mission and work is fulfilled on the earth.
Labor and work has intrinsic value on its own because God has commissioned all people to partner with him in the redemption of all things.
Robert Banks in his book Faith Goes to Work describes God as a Vocational Director reflected in the specific kinds of work people do on a daily basis:
I wrote another blackout poem. They are fun to do. Check out video below and start one today. Minimal creativity necessary.
Work is the form in which we make ourselves useful to others. -Lester DeKoster (Work: The Meaning of Your Life)
Imagine a day if people stopped working? Trash would pile up in the yard because the trash man took a vacation. You go to catch the bus for work and the driver is missing. A family gathers around the table to eat a meal… but wait. There’s no food because the farmer is napping, the truck driver to deliver the produce to a grocer is on siesta, and your local grocery store is a ghost town.
You get the picture.
Do you realize how important your work is for others?
In a landmark study done by the Fuller Youth Institute they determined key factors in reaching young people (15-29) and how to involve them in your church community. This study could apply to your business, non-profit, or organization that wants to grow younger.
How would you describe Christianity or a Christian?
People who attend church. Say their prayers. Try to be good. Vote Republican. Help the needy. Do “church stuff.” You can fill in the rest how you like.
What if the essence of Christianity were none of these things? Regardless of the picture painted by fellow Christians and churches you’ve attended or heard about.
Try this on:
Well, you won’t find the exact wording in the Bible. But you’ll find a close picture dripping from beginning to end.
Start where you are, with what you have. Make something of it and never be satisfied.-George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver discovered alternative ways to replenish soil after multiple plantings of cotton. During the late 1800’s when cotton was an important economic resource he determined the planting of peanuts and soybeans would be an effective measure for bringing back the soil and a different source of income for farmers.
Carver was a scientist, botanist, and Christian. He believed everything we need to do our best work and serve the world. The Creator had given in the soil and raw materials of the earth. We just needed to slow down and look around.
Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.
"A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new." -Albert Einstein
Often failure is seen as a bad thing. I think it’s a gift. An opportunity to learn, grow, adjust, and change.
Einstein is right… You can’t discover new things, and succeed, if you aren’t willing to fail.
Our family completed the dreaded Parent-Teacher-Conference for two of our children. The teacher gives feedback on how our boys are measuring up at this stage of the school year.
I didn’t like what I heard. Not because my boys are disobedient and rude to their teachers and classmates. They are “angels” according to their teachers. I was distraught not because they were struggling in learning the required subjects and disciplines. For the most part, they are keeping up, and learning what is required at a competent level.
My angst is I wanted to hear more.
I wanted to hear about their curiosity in the classroom. A thirst for knowledge and wonder in the world God made and invites us to play. Obedience to rules and good behavior is not what moves me. It’s not my longterm goals for their lives.
I want to hear about curiosity and causing a ruckus because standardized testing and boring lectures don’t cultivate lifelong learners. Will never make world changers and difference makers. I want my boys to ask hard questions, seek new answers, stumble, fail, and learn some more.
I wanted to hear more.
Confidence is overrated. Confidence is developed with doing something many times over. We don't need confidence. We need courage. -Debbie Millman
Confident people are often arrogant and annoying. Hiding from insecurities, pain, and fear. What we need are courageous people. People willing to do the hard and right thing. Say the hard things, live in the dark places, and willing to be a nobody and unnoticed.
Today marks Ash Wednesday on the Church calendar. For many today just another day of work, leisure, and bingeing on Netflix. For others it’s a time of reflection, examination, prayer, confession, fasting, and hope.
The practice of marking ash on the heads of Christians is to challenge and remember:
We like no one telling us to repent, change, and believe something. It presses against our individuality and self-autonomy we hold so dear. Let alone someone telling us… you will die and return to the earth.
But that’s the problem. The reason suicide, depression, and flat-out lack of happiness, are at all time highs (up 24% from 1999-2014). In the land of the free, plenty, and abundance mind you. We believe nothing happens after death and trusting in a Creator and Redeemer is repressive, for the weak minded, and not the path of freedom. “Live, eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die,” is the mantra of the American ethos.
The plethora of TV shows, movies, and media depicting the end of the world, zombie apocalypse, war, and anti-hero characters, like Walter White from Breaking Bad reveal something important.
We are people with no hope. A culture with no hope falls into greater depression, violence, poverty, and destruction. It’s a fact.
“The emphasis now is on success and personal gain. I’m sitting in it, and I’m telling you, that’s not it… I’m the guy who’s got everything. I know. But I’m telling you, once you’ve got everything, then you're just left with yourself. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it doesn’t help you sleep any better, and you don’t wake up any better because of it. Now, no one’s going to want to hear that. I understand it. I’m sorry. I’m the guy who’s got to say it. But I’m telling you.” -Brad Pitt Rolling Stone Interview October 28, 1999
Below is a blackout poem inspired by Austin Kleon, and artist in Austin Texas. He teaches people how to create these unique poems. They are a lot of fun and anyone can make one. Try one out, and do one with your family.
I will link a video below to get you going.