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I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Jesus’s promise of abundant life is not just limited to the afterlife. Jesus’s kingdom reality was ushered in with his life, death, and resurrection, and thus abundant life is being offered to us right now. Of course this isn’t the fully realized kingdom life that Revelation 21 points to, with no more death, crying, or pain. Nevertheless, Jesus invites his followers to experience the abundant life right now.
Yesterday we talked about how we spend the majority of our lives working in some way — whether paid or unpaid — and that our work should glorify God. But we all know that our work is not the totality of our lives and it makes sense to evaluate our work within a broader context.
Dave Evans’s and Bill Burnett’s book, “Designing Your Life” suggests that in order to have fulfilling work, one must understand that there are really four core aspects to one’s life: Health, Love, Play, and Work. In their book they suggest using a fuel-gauge like “dashboard” to evaluate each of these four areas as 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 or full:
Health: How would you rate your physical, emotional and spiritual health? Is there one aspect of health that is struggling while another is thriving?
Love: Who are life-giving people in your life? Where do you sense love flowing to you and through you?
Play: What do you do just for fun? Where do you experience joy (even if you don’t “win”)?
Work: Think of activities paid and unpaid. How would you rate your engagement, enjoyment and meaning of your work?
For me, I found that my Play tank was the least full with very few things I did regularly that was just for the sheer enjoyment of it. I don’t have any hobbies like golf or painting that I enjoy, and many of my moments of joy are with my two daughters, which I categorized under Love. My Love tank was pretty full because of my girls and my wife. My Work tank was about half full because there were several aspects that drain me (conflict, budgeting, polity, maintenance, deaths) that coincide with my love of serving my church. My Health has actually been improving with regular physical exercise but I need to make more time for spiritual exercises including simply being with the Lord. As I reflect on my Health-Love-Play-Work dashboard, I might decide to focus on Play as a practical growth step. I realized that I do really enjoy cooking food for family and friends, so I could try to make time to practice that more regularly. For your own dashboard, get creative and think about one area you could take a simple action in to fill up your tank. Whether Health, Love, Play, or Work, we each need to fill up on some area so we can experience a more abundant life.
Evans and Burnett would encourage a much more thorough reflection on your Health-Love-Play-Work dashboard and I would highly recommend getting their book and going through this exercise. But for our purposes, just thinking about what abundant life looks like in these categories might be an invitation for God to speak into our whole lives and not just our work. I hope you’ll take some time to ask God to show you how full or empty your tank is in these areas so you can take a proactive step to remove any barriers hindering God’s abundant life in you and start practicing life-giving habits that will fill your tank.
QUESTIONS TO CONSIDER:
Do you agree with Evans and Burnett that these four categories (Health, Love, Play, Work) are the primary aspects of your life? What would you add or perhaps clarify?
Which one of the areas is most full? Empty? What is one practical step you could take to make your tank more full in this area?
Is it a barrier in your mind to imagine that you can improve one area without hindering another? For example, how can we focus on more Play without our Work and Love suffering?
Evans and Burnett argue that Health (physical, emotional, spiritual) is foundational to our lives that make it possible to thrive in Play, Love and Work. Do you agree with this idea?
Father, you sent your Son to make abundant life possible through him. Help me to see where the Spirit wants to fill me up. I give over the areas of health, love, play, and work to you and ask that you would be glorified in all of my life. As your abundant life is revealed through my imperfect life, draw people to yourself so they can find true life in the Spirit. I long for the day when all people will experience the fullness of your glory! Amen.
Explore more at the Theology of Work Project online commentary: Life, and Looming Death (John 10-12)
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