Grace must find expression in life, otherwise it is not grace.
-- Karl Barth

 

   

The MONTHLY Motivator - October 2015

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Joyful effort

If life required no effort, then it would offer no satisfaction. When you avoid effort also avoid accomplishment. If there was no need for commitment, there would be no experience of fulfillment. If there was no price to pay, there would be nothing to buy.

The ability to make a difference is one of life’s greatest blessings. And that ability is expressed through effort. When you seek to make a real and substantial effort, what you’ll end up with is a real and valuable achievement. Meaningful efforts can be difficult and painful. Yet their burdens are more than outweighed by the value they create. When you see just the difficulties, you’re only seeing half the picture. In the inconvenience and difficulty of the effort is the value of the accomplishment. By making that effort you will extract the value.

Have you ever been to an old-fashioned zoo, where the animals are kept in cages made of thick iron bars? Did you notice how sad those animals looked? When you look at their situation objectively, by just about every measure those animals have it pretty good. Their meals are provided for them. They have a safe, sanitary place to live, free from predators. They receive attentive health care. They have a plentiful supply of fresh water. They even have an interesting source of amusement and entertainment—all the people walking by. So what’s the problem? Even though those animals have all the necessities of life provided to them, they don’t have a life. After all, their purpose is not to be fed and watered and cleaned up after. Their purpose is to find their own food and water, and to use their wits and skills and resources to evade predators. Those animals are sad and dejected because they are not doing what they long to do, what they are designed and equipped to do, which is to take responsibility for their own lives.

You are never going to be truly fulfilled if you are merely being taken care of. You can have all the toys and goodies and exotic vacations that you can dream of, but if you don’t have a hand in the achievement of those things, they won’t give you any sense of satisfaction or fulfillment. You are designed to achieve, to make the efforts necessary for achievement. You are able to make those efforts. You equipped to make those efforts. You have a deep, inescapable, driving desire to make those efforts that lead to achievement. To the extent that you do achieve through your own efforts, you will live in joy.

Perhaps you harbor some fantasy that you can skate through life without ever having to put out any effort, or just doing the very minimum necessary. That fantasy is widespread. Look at all the people who buy lottery tickets every day. But that’s all it is—a fantasy.

Sooner or later you’re going to have to put forth some significant effort. The sooner, the better. Sooner or later you’re going to realize how desperately you want to achieve on your own terms, through your own efforts. The sooner, the better. The sooner you give in to your innate desire to achieve, the more of your life you can spend living true to your authentic purpose. Doing so can make you healthier, wealthier, happier, and a whole lot more fulfilled.


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--Ralph Marston