When I was in elementary and middle school, I was not what might be called an ideal student. I disliked the homework, the rules, the group activities, the slow pace of the classes and the wasted time spent in my seat. I was bored most of the time and looking for ways to entertain myself during the long hours. I would much rather be outside fishing on the river, or hunting with my single shot .22 rifle.
I was the kid who shot spit balls at the most studious girls in the class, or snuck under the outside fire escape at school so I could peek up the girls dresses when they went out for recess. I was the kid who tripped any boy who walked by my desk. I was the kid who got a transistor radio for Christmas that came with an ear piece. I brought it to school and told my teachers it was a hearing aid, and I was going deaf. Oh yes, and I was the one who deliberately misspelled a word on a spelling test just to keep the whole class from getting a perfect score. When I was told to spell that word correctly 50 times while everyone else was at recess, I would misspell it in a different way all 50 times, just to drive the teacher crazy.
No, I was not your ideal student simply because I learned the material when it was explained, and in my mind, after that, my life was being wasted. None of the rest of the class time really mattered. Then one day in the ninth grade something happened. A switch clicked in my head when I realized that somehow Science did matter. The funny thing is, I spent all my working years teaching science, all because of this one day. So, this particular class we were having a “science take down”, where the class was divided and stood up on opposite end of the room. The teacher asked science questions to the students one at a time, and whoever answered incorrectly had to sit down. The team that sat down first got homework that night.
As the team I was on stood in line, I pretended to look at my hand, as if to read an answer, and then to everyone’s shock I answered my question correctly. The kid next to me whispered, “you’re gonna get caught”, and the contest went on. One by one students on both sides were taken down until there were only a few of us left on each side. Every time I was about to be asked a question, I would glance down at my hand, pretending to find an answer. Sure enough, no matter what was asked I would be right.
Those in their seats were almost ready to riot when the only two students left standing on opposite teams were me, and the smartest kid in the class, Greg Hosplehorn. At this point everyone was wondering why the teacher had not called me out, since it was clear I must be cheating. Then to my great joy it happened, she told the class that whatever team lost would have a 500 word essay to write that night on why it never pays to cheat. She then instructed me to not look at my hand, and answer the next question. The team I was on began to moan, some of my team mates threatened to beat me up. It was not pretty.
The teacher smiled, asked the killing question, and without any hesitation I shot the answer right out. The class was stunned into silence. She asked Greg his question and true to form, the answer flew right out of his mouth. Back and forth we went for the remaining 10 minutes of the class, until the bell finally rang. At that point the teacher asked me to hold up my hands up for everyone to see. To the astonishment of all, they were empty. The teacher smiled at me, shook her head and said “I guess this means no homework for anyone, since neither team lost that game.” I walked into class that day as a dope, and an irritation to many. However, I walked out as brilliant, and a hero in the eyes of all. Why? Because, something finally mattered.
What things really matter to you? Do you know what they are, and are you going after them with all your heart? What are the passions in life that cause you to shine the way you were designed to be? If you don’t know, then it’s time to stop everything and discover this undiscovered territory. Set time aside to be with the Holy Spirit and let Him define you with breath-taking specificity. You will never hit your high place of excellence, satisfaction and productivity unless you first know what you were made to do, and where you were made to do it. In other words, you have to find out what matters.
As a Christian, I was called by God to be a teacher, a writer, a preacher and an apostolic prophet. I build ministers and ministries. I write books and Bible studies. I bring clarity to those who are confused. I am a spiritual father to many and a friend to all. I mentor those who desire to grow, and guide those who need to know. These things all flourish in my life whenever I get focused, and choose to participate in them the way God intended. Because of this, I find great satisfaction, and an ease of productivity filling my days. I bring God’s blessing to those who get near me, and my life is filled with purpose. When I am living in my high place, everything just works, and I love it.
Perhaps this is the season for you to discover what really matters. This may be your time to stop the endless activity, get quiet, stay focused and uncover who you really are. Let the searchings of your heart go deep. Find out what your passions are, and most importantly, where they are pointing you. If you desire it, you can live a life of purpose and productivity. You can find that deep place of satisfaction only God can bring you, and only He can keep you. It is in this place alone, where you find what really matters, that life has its full meaning. Once you find this, you can joyfully spend the rest of you life living it. Now… go find what matters, and be a blessing to others by doing it.