Statistically, I've passed the midpoint of my life. As I've gotten older, I've been thinking more about calling, and legacy. Calling, in my mind, is the most important thing I can do, which would be the most difficult for someone else to do had I not done it. Legacy, in my mind, are the traces of my life left here after I'm gone.
Calling is something that both my wife and I have been talking about. After all, we agreed to go through our lives together, so we each need to consider, and value, what God calls the other to do.
It sure would be neat if He called us to do the same thing.
A couple's common calling
A family we know is participating in hosting an orphan for a few weeks this summer through Project 143. (Please check out their website to learn about Project 143's mission.)
We attended a presentation that discussed the particulars of the outreach. In the presentation, the father talked about how he and his wife were led to do this as a couple. Hosting the orphan was “a God thing” first and foremost — but beyond that, it was they who were called to do this more so than he or she was called to do this.
The “they” part is important. They're waiting to see how God uses this hosting — which is wise. Nonetheless, this is a step that they're taking together, and it's one step toward discovering a common calling for their lives, regardless of whether that calling ends up dealing with orphans or with something else.
Wise stewardship of finite resources
Hopefully it's not too much of a jump to call this kind of joint calling a “good deal.” The positive impact we can leave is limited by money and time. Time is by far more important than money, because eventually we run out of time. But, given that happens to everyone, there's also the consideration of money.
Hosting the orphan for just a few weeks is not cheap: thousands of dollars. A family typically has only so many thousand-dollar chunks of change lying around. And, unfortunately, money can only be spent once, so this money cannot be used for something else — like, another completely different, separate calling.
Now, a calling is a calling — and who am I to say that two separate callings are bad? — but a couple with a common calling enjoys a number of benefits:
- More resources available to make an impact. Reducing the number of competing “draws on resources” increases what can be put toward one particular need.
- Economies of scale. A larger chunk of change can open up volume discounts, setting up a foundation for wider reach, etc.
- Increased impact through a wider skill-set. Husbands and wives in strong marriages tend to complement each other well. One is strong in an area where the other is weak. Doing something together can cover the bases better.
- Efficiencies of time. If one person can work 5,000 hours on a calling in a lifetime, then two can work 10,000 hours. The number of hours is the “hard limit” that can't be overcome. Even better: Working together they might be able to be far more efficient than just the “sum of the parts.”
- It's a good accounting for one's life. I believe that we will all be asked to give an account for our lives. A joint calling, with the person you promised to spend the rest of your life with way back when, certainly isn't a bad accounting. And, in a practical way, a common meaningful and purposeful activity is a good way to strengthen the bonds with your spouse.
If you're married, finding a common calling is a good thing to do with your spouse. This is one of life's good deals, in the big picture.