“God made you to flourish — to receive life from outside yourself, creating vitality within yourself and producing blessing beyond yourself.”- John Ortberg
“For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”- Ephesians 2:10 (NIV)
In its heyday, Hawthorn-Mellody Farms & Amusement Park in Libertyville, IL, functioned as a state-of-the-art dairy farm. One of the largest dairy farms in Lake County, Hawthorn-Mellody also operated a small, but successful, amusement park. The park included a petting zoo, small western town, and a steam train.
The owner, John Cuneo, Sr., built Hawthorn-Mellody in 1949. He intended that the farm serve as a fun, educational center where families learned about agriculture and the dairy industry. To achieve this goal, Mr. Cuneo constructed a public milking parlor. Every afternoon, Holsteins were milked using Hawthorn’s “free of human touch” production process. However, new owners razed the farm in 1970 due to decreased attendance and increased competition from more modern dairies.
Before your ministry downsizing or vocation loss, perhaps preoccupation with work and/or career goals defined your existence. As a result, you felt alive. Furthermore, after your loss that preoccupation simply shifted gears to resurrecting your vocation. Consequently, then, how do you avoid acquiring the “spiritual” gift of pouting?
Writing in The Me I Want to Be, John Ortberg stresses that no one particular achievement or experience defines life. Instead, your most important task in life consists of who you become, not what you do. Citing Ephesians 2:10, Pastor Ortberg explains:
“You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project. Your life is God’s project. God thought you up, and he knows what you were intended to be. He has many good works for you to do . . . signposts to your true self.”
Therefore, Dr. Ortberg exhorts you to remember that God made you to flourish. In addition, he describes flourishing as:
- God’s gift and plan
- living in harmony with God, other people, creation, and yourself
- not measured by outward signs such as income, possessions, or attractiveness
- becoming the person God had in mind in creating you
- moving toward God’s best version of you
In conclusion, Pastor Ortberg encourages, you become more you when you flourish. Although you are a “new creation,” you’re not completely different. For God wants to redeem you rather than exchange you. And in this process you grow, giving God the glory. John explains:
“But as God grows you, he wants to use you in his plan to redeem the world, and you find him changing your experiences. Your flourishing self works out of a richness and a desire to contribute. You live with a sense of calling . . . doing what you love and what creates value. . . . become resilient in suffering. . . . You grow.”
Finally, God calls us to bring His wisdom and glory to the world. As we flourish, we bring blessing to others. Yes, even in the most unexpected and humble circumstances.