There are some people who do certain things so well and with such passion and excellence that they serve (at least to me) as a picture of how I want to live in all areas of life. You may not personally know some of the examples I’m about to give, but I’ll at least try to paint enough of a picture that you can be encouraged and challenged by what I’ve observed. I may do this a few times since there are more than just a few people who have caught my attention by the way they live in one area or another. Some are well-known, some unknown. But all live for the Lord and seek to honor Him in what they do.
With that in mind, I think that everyone should live…
… like Dave Zimmer plays the drums. Dave is the drummer for our college chapel band, although his abilities are certainly not exhausted by this ministry. I saw Dave in the Student Center a few weeks ago and I told him that I thought everyone should live like he plays the drums. He plays with unmistakable passion and a certain self-forgetfulness that’s refreshing. I’ve seen many drummers rock out. In fact, drumming seems to attract a fairly enthusiastic group of people. Most aren’t staid and stoic, at least not when they’re playing. But sometimes drummers appear to be more about hype and crowd-pleasing than anything else. But not Dave. He plays with an energy and a focus and a joy that tells me that he’s lost in wonder, love, and praise. I don’t equate emotion with genuine worship, but I also don’t think that emotionlessness is praiseworthy. Different people express themselves with differing levels of intensity, and that can be OK. But we all appreciate those whose passion is pure and evident. Also, besides his worshipful zeal at the drumset, Dave is very obviously an exceptional drummer (and being an exception to the norm doesn’t usually happen without working really hard). What would Ecclesiastes 9:10 look like sitting at a drumset? I picture Dave Zimmer. “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might.”
… like Todd Bolen teaches. Todd Bolen is one of my favorite teachers (and a good friend) because he knows his subjects, he enjoys his craft, he loves the Lord deeply, he’s intense and driven, he’s straightforward and honest, and he works very hard (but not at the expense of his family). He’s also full of wisdom which he imparts to his students in ways that stick. He’s intensely practical, and he’s willing to call stupid stupid, both of which are rarities in academia. And his students love him not mainly for expertise or communication or humor, but because they know that he worships God with his life and is going to push them to do the same. Todd neither engages in nor tolerates mediocrity, and he’s one of the few teachers I know whose students love him because he’s hard. He has a way of winning you over to a pursuit of excellence for the Lord. He’s truly a beloved teacher to many. He would probably tell you that he teaches better than he lives, but the heart behind that admission is exactly why I respect and admire him.
… like Aaron Dickson plays defense. Aaron Dickson is the point guard for our current Master’s College basketball team. He’s about 6’0″, 200 lbs. He’s built more like a small linebacker than a point guard, but he’s extremely quick. I love watching Aaron play defense. He’s an absolute ball-hawk. I’ve almost never seen his man beat him off the dribble. He’s in your face, moving his feet, hands up and out, cutting off every angle, and seemingly never running out of energy. I’ve also never seen him stay on his feet when there’s a loose ball on the floor. He’s the guy who sprints the full length of the floor chasing an errant pass and lays out across the baseline trying to save it. Just watching his face and his body and his movement as he’s playing tells you that he only has one gear: overdrive. But he does all of this without losing control of his emotions or letting opposing players get in his head. His is a sanctified passion and a controlled (though no less fierce) intensity. Oh, to be both holy and ferocious! I once brought a 10-year-old boy from down the street to a game, and within a few minutes he was telling me that Aaron was his favorite player. After the game he wanted to get Aaron’s autograph (he thought all the players were famous), and Aaron signed his name along with Colossians 3:23 — “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men.” On the ride home, I told him that Colossians 3:23 was a verse from the Bible. He wanted me to read it, so I grabbed a Bible, read the verse, and explained to my little friend that Aaron plays so hard because he’s playing for the Lord. My friend looked straight ahead and nodded thoughtfully. He doesn’t know Christ, but he understood: Aaron plays lock-down defense because Aaron loves God. I think that’s pretty awesome.
I’ve wanted to write about some of these people for awhile now, and there are definitely more that I’m thinking of. I’m sure that you too have some particular people that have impacted you in similar ways. If so, feel free to add a name along with your explanation in the comments.
My prayer is that in whatever the Lord has called you to do, you would cast off the sacred/secular distinction that is so easily and disastrously drawn in our minds, and that you would do what you do humbly and heartily and excellently for the Lord and for His purposes. May it be said of you that that if everyone were to live like you ___________, they would be living well.