Does God want his people to flourish? What does flourishing even look like? John Ortberg gives us a picture in this excerpt from The Me I Want to Be: Becoming God’s Best Version of You.
Not long ago I boarded an airport shuttle bus to get to the rental car lot. Driving a shuttle bus is usually a thankless job, for the driver is often regarded as the low man on the totem pole. People on the bus are often grumpy from travel and in a hurry to get to their car. No one says much except the name of their rental car company. But not on this bus.
The man who drove the bus was an absolute delight. He was scanning the curbside, looking for anybody who needed a ride. “You know,” he told us, “I’m always looking because sometimes people are running late. You can tell it in their eyes. I’m always looking because I never want to miss one. Hey, here’s another one! …”
The driver pulled over to pick up a latecomer, and he was so excited about what he was doing that we got excited. We were actually cheering him on when he was picking people up. It was like watching Jesus drive a shuttle bus. The man would grab people’s luggage before they could lift it, then he would jump back on the bus and say, “Well we’re off. I know you’re all eager to get there as quickly as possible, so I’m going to get you there as soon as I can.”
Jaded commuters put down their papers. He created such a little community of joy on that bus that people wanted to ride around in the terminal a second time just to hang out with the guy. We would say to people who got on after us, “Watch this guy!” He wasn’t just our shuttle bus driver — he was our leader; he was our friend. And for a few moments, community flourished. On a shuttle bus for a rental car company — and one person moved toward the best version of himself.
“Flourishing means moving toward God’s best version of you.” -John Ortberg
What happened to that shuttle bus driver can happen in you. Sometimes it does. Every once in a while you do something that surprises you and catch a glimpse of the person you were made to be. You say something inspirational at a meeting. You help a homeless man no one else notices. You are patient with a rambunctious three-year-old. You lose yourself in a piece of music. You fall in love. You express compassion. You stand up to a bully. You freely make a sacrificial gift. You fix an engine. You forgive an old hurt. You say something you would normally never say, or you keep from saying something you would normally blurt out.
[God] is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time.
As you do, you glimpse for a moment why God made you. Only God knows your full potential, and he is guiding you toward that best version of yourself all the time. He has many tools and is never in a hurry. That can be frustrating for us, but even in our frustration, God is at work to produce patience in us. He never gets discouraged by how long it takes, and he delights every time you grow. Only God can see the “best version of you,” and he is more concerned with you reaching your full potential than you are.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. [Ephesians 2:10]
Your life is not your project.
You are not your handiwork; your life is not your project. Your life is God’s project. God thought you up, and he knows what you were intended to be. He has many good works for you to do, but they are not the kind of “to do” lists we give spouses or employees. They are signposts to your true self.
Your “spiritual life” is not limited to certain devotional activities that you engage in. It is receiving power from the Spirit of God to become the person God had in mind when he created you — his handiwork.
A Friendly Dare: Today, try one thing that will help you and others flourish.
-Adam Forrest, Zondervan
(Some styling above is a web-exclusive feature not included in the text of The Me I Want to Be. Image attribution: from The Me I Want to Be. This post does not represent the views of Zondervan or any of its representatives. The writer’s personal opinions are shared only for information purposes. To receive new Zondervan Blog posts in your reader or email inbox, subscribe to Zondervan Blog.)
-Adam Forrest, Zondervan