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Taming a LigerUnexpected Spiritual Lessons from NAPOLEON DYNAMITE
By Jeff Dunn Adam Palmer
Th1nk BooksCopyright © 2005 Jeffrey Dunn and Noel Adam Palmer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWhatever I feel like I
So here you are, reading this devotional about Napoleon Dynamite. Maybe it's morning and you're getting ready for school, or maybe, like Napoleon, you're on the way to somewhere. Perhaps, like Napoleon, if someone asked you what you were doing today, you'd be thrown off. Especially considering Napoleon only had one thing planned for his day: to give Mr. Action Figure a ride behind the school bus. Extremely important stuff. Besides that, his plans were probably undetermined.
Maybe you have a hot date tonight with a babe you met online, or maybe you have a dance to attend. Perhaps you have nothing to do but throw footballs at a video camera. Whatever you've got going on, you might be even more thrown off by someone asking you what you are going to do with your life. Do you have a plan?
If you don't have a plan for your life, or even if you do, pretty much the best place to find one is in the Word. And you might be surprised that God is not necessarily asking you to create a detailed trajectory. See, for example, Micah.
Micah was a prophet at a crucial time in Israel's history. God's people had wandered far from him, worshiping other gods and following their own ways. Prophets such as Isaiah, Hosea, Amos, and Micah were sent to call the people back to the God who loved them and had their best interests in mind. Micah told the people of Israel that following their own plans could only lead to destruction. He reminded them that God has another way.
"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously" (Micah 6:8).
Some will tell you that they feel a calling on their life, such as to be a teacher, a marketing guru, or a missionary. Perhaps you feel a bit left out because you don't have such a calling on your life. When someone asks what you are going to do, you answer, "I have no idea. Gosh!" But don't worry about it. You do have a calling. It's just a little less specific than you may have expected.
For example, we are all called to be fair and just in our dealings with others. This means we don't take advantage of someone else, that we don't rip people off. When selling something on eBay. Being fair involves living by a higher standard in our lives than simply "honesty is the best policy." If we are to fulfill God's call on our lives, "honesty is the only policy." This is living justly, and by doing so, our lives will naturally take the right form.
Another calling for each of us is to be compassionate and loyal in our love. At first this seems like an unnecessary directive, doesn't it? I mean, isn't love by definition compassionate and loyal? Perhaps. But since when did any of us live by a perfect definition? We are all prone to selfishness and being inconsiderate. We find it hard to put others - even someone we love - ahead of our own needs and interests. That is why we need to stop and remember our calling to be compassionate and loyal. To step outside of our own interests and focus on others.
Finally, we are called to stop taking ourselves so seriously. This does not mean that we are unimportant to God. You may have heard it said that if you were the only person on earth to have ever strayed from God, he still would have sent Jesus to suffer and die just for you. I (Jeff) believe it's true, and it can, if you let it, put to rest the thoughts that you are just a number to the Father. His love for you is what allows you to stop concentrating on yourself and begin to take God seriously. Once you know that he cares for you much better than you could care for yourself, you will be free to have more fun and stop worrying about what may come your way.
Life is meant to be lived. And you can only have a full, abundant life if you live it according to the Creator's calling.
"But he's already made it plain how to live, what to do, what God is looking for in men and women. It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor, be compassionate and loyal in your love. And don't take yourself too seriously - take God seriously."
Excerpted from Taming a Liger by Jeff Dunn Adam Palmer Copyright © 2005 by Jeffrey Dunn and Noel Adam Palmer. Excerpted by permission.
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