Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Tim Keller

Recently Isaac and I listened to a sermon that was recommended on several different blogs I read. It was Tim Keller at the Gospel Coalition Conference, and it was titled, "The Grand DeMythologizer." Tim is the pastor of one of the most active Presbyterian churches in the country, and the author of "The Reason for God" which I asked for for Christmas and is in my reading line-up. Since it came so highly recommended I was really curious to get a taste of Tim's style, and I put on the sermon while I was cleaning my kitchen this weekend.

It sort of hit me between the eyes, and I highly recommend it. It talks about idolatry and processes through the idols of our culture and for us as individuals. I've heard that idea many times... you know... money can become an idol, fame can become an idol... etc.. etc. The things that we value most highly can become idols in our lives whenever they become not just valued but prioritized. Something about the way Tim presented it was really fresh and challenging.

My struggle over the past two or so years has been struggling with career direction, job satisfaction, and in general angst about my working future. I've talked a lot about it recently. Here is where I am convicted. Am I beginning to believe that my happiness is dependent on getting the right job and walking down the right career path?

I mused on that during a long walk through a gorgeous park. The music on my ipod, the sun and the spring flowers, couples holding hands, mothers with babies, all of the beautiful wildlife and fountains and streams... it was just overwhelmingly beautiful and filled with life. I felt like I would split in two with the joy welling up inside in those moments of prayer in that beautiful place.

Because of those long walks, Tim Keller's sermon, and the conversations Isaac and I have had about it all since then, I've been rather convicted about making an idol of career and work. It is a misconception for me to think that I will be fulfilled and happy because of my job. It's like marriage. Marriage is SO much fun and I highly recommend it, but if you go into it to try to GAIN happiness and fulfillment, you will be miserable. If, on the other hand, you go into a marriage as a fulfilled and happy person, you are able to contribute that contentment to your marriage.

It's true that I should continue to search for the right fit for me in the job world, and that it is good to find something that you are truly gifted for. However, peace and contentment and fulfillment won't come to me because I've found a good job. My daily sense of peace and contentment should come from my identity in Christ. I think I have erred in where I have been placing my faith at times. Situations change, sometimes things are happy and sometimes they are difficult, but the deeper peace of identity and meaning comes from the truth that I am saved and secure in Christ. What was broken and ultimately hopeless is mended through knowing Him. In Him I hold to a daily and future hope, and therefore also joy.

My job will not fulfill me. Having children and perfect little family will not fulfill Isaac and I. The right degree and level of knowledge will not fulfill Isaac. These are all good things that bring some happiness, but they are not where we find our meaning or joy. Ultimately I am reminded that "In Christ alone, my hope is found", and that finding life and a daily joy in Him is what truly enables me to find joy in my career, our family, and (for Isaac) the academic world.


Jaimie said...

Mmmm. *nods*

Kurt Willems said...

Thanks for this great reminder... Our hope is found in Jesus and nothing we can accomplish or fail to accomplish compares to his love and justice flooding our lives...