In fact, according to Mike Rowe who made himself famous visiting and participating in these and many other nasty employment opportunities on the hit TV show Dirty Jobs, these are some of the all-time dirtiest.
When asked why they do these things, almost without fail people answer with some variation of, “a person’s gotta make a living”.
That phrase haunts me.
What I do as my vocation is not what I do to ‘make a living’. It is what I do to make a paycheck.
That paycheck allows me to create a life, but it does not guarantee me that I’m living. To me, making a living is about what you do to insure that your daily life, not just your money, is well-spent.
- Life is simply the external quantity of what you do with your breaths.
- Living is about the eternal quality of what you do with those breaths.
When you are really living your life fills with meaning, depth and significance.
Real living is what will outlast your life.
Christ-following is about that kind of living. Jesus actually gave it a name.
“Abundant.” (John 10:10)
It takes a drastically skewed reading of His life-story in the gospels to define that “abundant” with the temporal values and shallow priorities which characterize modern culture. Ambition. Wealth. Popularity. Freedom. Power.
Abundant has to do with experiencing and embracing the outlandishly un-ordinary nature of ordinary life with Christ.
His living was radically different in quality from most of what we call “life” these days. Yet, any objective look at Him elicits descriptions like “beautiful”, “challenging”, “passionate” or “amazing”. All qualities any of us would covet for our eulogy.
In the eloquent New Testament letter to Hebrew Christians, there is a phrase that captures this multi-dimensional, rich style of being Jesus fleshed out. In fact, the author tells us it is the costly path toward intimacy with the Father that Jesus personally pioneered and then warmly invited us to follow.
He called it a “new and living way”. (Hebrews 10:20)
This description is colored with deeper meaning than the words first present. It in fact unveils the qualities of living which make “abundant” what would otherwise simply be daily.
Here is a word used only this once in the entire text of the New Testament. There were plenty of strong words the author could have utilized to express “new”-ness, but he purposefully selected this rare and uniquely descriptive word. It literally means “freshly slain; newly killed”.
He is describing a quality of life that is constantly on the hunt for what needs to be conquered and captured. Far from a tame existence of monotony and routine, Kingdom living is pictured as a life of risk, focus and intensity.
Abundant life is to be…Adventure.
There is a visceral and palpable energy to this word chosen by the writer. It speaks not just of having a pulse, but of owning a passion.
It is a quality of living that is vital, vigorous and expansive where we tap into the powerful energy God breathed into His creative order. The spiritual mojo that drives us to unearth and discover the complex beauty buried within the routines and ruts of daily life.
Abundant life is to be…Discovery.
Post-modern cultural offers cheap imitations of this real quality of living based on the external experience of pleasure or the heart-pounding rush on the edge of experience. But there is something missing. Thus the driving ache to constantly push the boundaries and stretch the borders of the next experience.
Without a shred of meaning these attempts to create “abundant” simply cause a sense of futility expressed by a growling spiritual appetite frustratedly demanding more.
But God promises a real quality of living based on the eternal experience of presence and the heart-changing reality at the core of creation. Here there is something more. Thus the lasting satisfaction of encountering and engaging the reasons for which we were made.
Defined by this depth of meaning, the rub and reality of raw daily living is impregnated with the adventure and discovery consistent with your original design.
Paul instructed his young apprentice Timothy to “tell those rich in this world’s wealth to quit being so full of themselves and so obsessed with money, which is here today and gone tomorrow. Tell them to go after God, who piles on all the riches we could ever manage—to do good, to be rich in helping others, to be extravagantly generous. If they do that, they’ll build a treasury that will last, gaining life that is truly life.” (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
“Life that is truly life”–living characterized by the riches of God downloaded into our lives through radical obedience, extravagant generosity and core authenticity. That is the new and living way–life more abundant!
Living every day in the world we see with a heart of adventure set to discover what is within and beyond what we see.
Now that is making a living!