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Monday, January 8, 2018

Making a Difference

With the new year just underway, now is a good time to consider two questions:
  • What will you do differently in 2018? And…
  • What difference will you make?
I’m finding no shortage of articles dealing with Near Year’s resolutions. Most are directed toward helping people live them out. A few even attempt to tell you what your resolutions ought to be!

Why make resolutions at all? I think the better approach is to do an annual gut check that asks tough questions about yourself. Questions like…what is my life really about? Is it only comprised of work and daily routines that produce an “ordinary existence?” Or do I see a bigger picture and a significant role that I can play?

Then there’s the job related questions. Am I truly contributing value to others with my work? Do I find true satisfaction in my endeavors? Am I advancing my knowledge and skills to create more value?

In terms of overall well being, is my health improving, stable, or declining? Are there broken relationships that need healing? Am I managing time well? Do I have friendships in which I invest and find of mutual benefit? Or have I become more withdrawn and isolated?

As for money, is it driving my purpose in life or not? Have I become a better steward of the resources with which God has blessed me? Would others consider me a generous person?

Spending time each year on these questions sets up the opportunity to create a better life game-plan. It need not be a list of heavy demands for change, but rather desirable objectives toward a better life. Or dare I say…an abundant life.

Why this phrase? Jesus of Nazareth was sharing with His closest associates about His priority of serving others. In life, we find many who are willing to take advantage of us by stealing our time, going after our money, or lessening our quality of life some other way. Not Jesus. He said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” Another translation of that verse describes it as life “to the fullest.”

The person who is the primary spiritual influence in my life frequently asks people whether they are living the abundant life. Can you guess how most people respond? Many aren’t sure what it means. Most cannot say that they are living such a life.

Evangelist Greg Laurie shares the story of an artist who sculpted a beautiful angel and wanted the master artist, Michelangelo, to inspect it and offer his opinion. So Michelangelo was called in. The master artist carefully looked at the sculpture from every angle.

Finally, he said, "Well, it lacks only one thing." Then he turned around and walked out.

The artist didn't know what it lacked, and he was embarrassed to go and ask Michelangelo. So he sent a friend to Michelangelo's studio to try and find out what his statue lacked.

The great artist replied, "It lacks only life.”

This year, perhaps you can make it your objective to move closer to living the abundant life. Consider my opening two questions about making a difference. Set a course that leads your life in the direction of a Jesus follower. Every aspect of your world will take on new meaning.

The wealth of contentment is worth the investment.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

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