The Million Dollar Quartet, is a Broadway musical inspired by the famous recording session featuring Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins. It was a one time event, taking place on December 4, 1956 – a jam session that went down in history. Reading about it caused me to reflect on the relationship between desire and service to God.
There was a time when I dreamed about becoming a professional entertainer. In my youth I was the lead tenor and soloist for an 80 voice choir that toured the Inland Northwest. Later, I sang in a Gospel/Contemporary Christian quintet – and also made a few dollars on the side as a wedding singer. I was told I had a voice good enough for the big time. Yet, I lacked the drive necessary to capitalize on my God-given talents. If there is one thing I have learned in the 30 years since then, it is that talent is as common as dirt (to paraphrase John Taylor Gatto). It seems to me, the primary obstacle to success is desire.
If a person wants something bad enough they are not going to let anything stand in the way of their dream. Fear is pushed to the side and the well-meaning advice of others to “get a real job” is ignored. This does not mean every person who really, really wants to (fill in the blank) is going to the able to achieve their dream but there is no doubt that those who do accomplish their goals have a strong desire to succeed.
Desire is often an indication of the character God has built in to an individual. Certainly, there is misdirected desire. I once counseled a young man who believed he had the talent to be a gridiron star. The funny thing (in a sad way) is that he had never played football. His grades had been so poor throughout his academic career that he had never been allowed to try out for the team. He was 14 years old when he was in counseling and even with his lack of experience and size (he was 5 foot 4 and about 130 pounds) he still believed he was destined to be an NFL star. The young man needed to get a grip on reality. His desire was misplaced. It said nothing about his God-given abilities.
Yet, we should take a good look at the desires of our heart. If we are living a life in submission to Jesus Christ, led by his Word and his Spirit and under God ordained authority, we should expect God will use our desire to help guide us. In a Christlike life God’s desire becomes our own.
Ask yourself, “What is it I most enjoy doing? To what geographic location do I feel drawn? What in my life do people most often identify as my unique talent? What job can I do in the kingdom of God no one else can do?” These are some of the things we can ask in order to discern where the Lord might have us serve him. This Spirit lead self-analysis probably won’t lead us to a different career; it may help us to understand what service we may provide the Lord Jesus on a volunteer basis. The point I want to make is, each of us is a unique creation and each of us have been given certain talents and abilities God wants us to use for his glory. One of the ways we discover what God wants us to do is by taking note of what we desire most in life.