Bring something to the group that reflects your previous occupation. As each member shows the object, the others have to guess which occupation this symbolises.
For many of us life will have been a series of ‘have to’s…’ We have ‘had to’ do certain things to be able to exist within society. We have ‘had to’ find a job and work to pay the mortgage or the rent, pay bills, and put food on the table. Whether this job has been our dream job, or our nightmare job, we will have ‘had to’ do it.
Within our family life there will have been many things that we have ‘had to’ do. Children to look after, clothes to wash and iron, beds to make, vacuuming or sweeping the floor, cooking and washing-up, taking up our time and our energy, sometimes squeezing out the things we would have liked to have done. Of course some of these things may remain – instead of looking after your children, you may now be looking your grandchildren, and you may have parents who are now older needing more support. But for many of us in this stage of life it will be a time when we do not have the pressure of a day job and the stress of an early morning commute and we can maybe re-evaluate what opportunities this ‘new age’ brings.
In The Salvation Army, there is a song, penned by General John Gowans that says, ‘He came to give us life in all its fullness’ based on John 10:10 and we assert that this ‘fullness of life’ is not limited to our first six decades but throughout our entire earthly life and through to our eternal reward.
Over the next few weeks we will explore the possibility of who you are and can be at this stage in life, but most importantly to be just who God meant you to be. That the skills, gifts, life experiences, challenges, attitudes and all the other factors that have been played out in your life over the years, may now come together and enable you to fulfil God’s will and know life in all
its fullness and experience deep joy. ‘I once knew a family whose father had decided on the careers they would each have, and it had led for them to careers, which although relatively successful, were devoid of joy, devoid of fulfilment and devoid of passion. They had no passion for what they were doing because their career was imposed upon them.’
Passion is one of the key motivators behind what we do, who we do it for and why we do it. We all have a different God-given passion – something that we care deeply about which drives us to want to make a difference in that area and contrary to what we so often hear, God wants us to enjoy working with and in those areas of ministry.
‘Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart.’
God has designed us to minister in a specific area of ministry that we find motivating, that we find fulfilling, that gives a sense of meaning to us; and in order to reach ‘all people, by all means’ he gave us all different passions to accomplish this. Consider Paul:
‘When God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace was pleased to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not consult any man…’
We are all gathered here today because of Paul’s Godgiven passion to reveal the truth to the Gentiles and to work outside of what he had previously understood as God’s chosen people.
Can you think of a time when you had to do something and the phrase ‘like a fish out of water’ could have been applied to you?
(Humorous incidents gratefully received!)
We have all had those times when we have been asked to do something that did not fit well within our talents or skillset and we have struggled and felt like a ‘fish out of water’.
Talents and skills are given by God to everyone and in a sense, provide for the ongoing functioning and fruition of the world. Our lives are enriched by those talented in music and art, the skill of a wordsmith can bring us to tears or make us bellow with laughter, all talents that enrich our existence.
Our lives are eased by the work of craftsmen and scientists and in God’s audacious plan we are all meant to benefit mutually from the abilities that we have all received. (Remember, God’s audacious plan of love is not the same as the warped world we find ourselves in, where some talents or skills, gifts or abilities are valued more than others.)
Ask the group to bring a precious gift that someone has given to them.