Are you thriving or coasting?


Chuck Tabor - Contributing columnist



If I may, would you allow me to ask you a question?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I remember the first time I ever seriously thought about that question. My second-grade teacher, Miss Beckley, asked us to draw a picture of what or who we wanted to be when we grew up. I remember not enjoying that project very much at all, simply because I could not decide what I wanted to do with my life.

Think back, if you would, to the time at the very beginning of adulthood in your life when you were determining the plan for your life.

The question is: Are you still following that plan?

Ira Glass, the host of The American Life, once asked a room full of a hundred people this question. He wanted to know how many of these adults were still on “Plan A.” He asked for a show of hands.

There was only one person who confessed that she was still living Plan A. Upon further discussion Glass observed that this lone “Plan A”-er was 23 years old!

The fact is, most of us fall into the “Plan B” category, don’t we? We are indeed not following our original plans that we had when we were just starting out.

In fact, that same fact is true for most young adults as well. In a fairly recent national (2016) survey, most 18-24-year-olds reported that finding and having a clear purpose in life is a big part in being a “real” adult. The problem is that most of them do not feel like they’ve found that sense of purpose.

While the great majority of them (86%) say that making decisions in line with their purpose makes them an adult, only 43% say they even have a clear picture of what they want in life. And only 30% know why they are here!

When the survey was published, Christine Whelan, a clinical professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, concluded that, “This study isn’t good news. Coasting is existing, not thriving. The majority of young adults who say they don’t have a clear picture of what they want in life also say they are existing but not thriving, while those with purpose more often say they are thriving.”

What about you? Are you thriving? Or are you just coasting through life?

The Word of God challenges us in a very significant way to think deeply about this subject. In fact, God gives us a very important message regarding our purpose when He says, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)

This verse simply tells us that God has created each one of us for a purpose, and that the goal that each of should have is to “walk” in that purpose as we live each day of our lives for Him.

But please, if you will, notice several things about that verse. First, we are his “workmanship”. The original word here is the word from which we derive the term “poem”.

Each one of us is a beautiful and creative hand-crafted work of art, personally molded and put together by God Himself.

And what’s more, He made us “in Christ Jesus for good works”, which literally means that once we have trusted Christ as our Savior, we are to engage in good works, which God, in His sovereign care, has already planned for us to do and to “walk in them”.

In other words, we are not saved BY our good works, but rather we are saved FOR (in order to do) our good works.

But look at what this verse does NOT say: For one thing, there is no mention of age in this verse. It does not say “only the young” are created for good works.

That’s why, for example, Caleb, one of the great heroes of the Old Testament, could say, at age 85, “Give me another mountain to conquer, Joshua! God is not done with me yet!” And search as much as you will, there is never any reference to retirement in the Scriptures.

God expects us to keep going working for His kingdom, as long as we are breathing. Second, there is also no mention of talent or ability here either. God does not say, “Only the gifted” are created for good works! No, the fact is God does not call the gifted, or the ones who are equipped with certain gifts or talents. Rather, we are ALL called, and God equips the called! As well, there is no mention of health either.

The verse does not say, “Only the Healthy” are created for good works.

Every week, here in Florida, literally hundreds of individuals in all stages of life, healthy and otherwise, gather together to put together materials which will eventually be given in shoeboxes to little children all over the world. Not too long ago I visited a friend who was in the hospital recovering from surgery.

As I walked into his room, he was weaving stocking caps on a round loom. These caps will be packed into the Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes.

He was not feeling the best, but he could do that little thing to fulfill his calling.

God wants to use us all to fulfill His Plan A for each of us. God has us still on His plan A, which is to walk with Christ through each day of our lives, and therefore and thereby fulfill His call for each of us.

We may believe that we are too old, or that we have too much history where we have “blown” it, or that we are just too insignificant to matter with God, but, my friends, understand that so long as you are walking with God, you are not done and the mission is NEVER over!

God bless…

Chuck Tabor is a regular columnist for the News Journal and a former pastor in the area. He may be reached at cdtabor3@gmail.com.

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Chuck Tabor

Contributing columnist