I recently read a book called Rose in Bloom by Louisa May Alcott. It’s a fantastic book and I highly recommend it. You can get it fo’ free on Kindle. Anyhoo. There is a part in the book where the main character Rose asks her cousin Mac, who is fresh out of college, what he wants to be. His response is simple and yet so profound. He says, “A man first, and a good one if possible. After that, what God pleases.”
I read that and I was floored. So many times we look towards the future and to what we want to be. Doctor. Stockbroker. Insurance agent. Professional beatboxer. And it’s all well and good to want to be those things. But if you focus completely on your profession, you can forget that first and foremost, you’re a person. And if you’re not good at being a person, what does your success really matter?
The Apostle Paul says much the same thing in 1 Corinthians 13:1 “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels but have not love, I am noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” You can have all sorts of talents and skills and abilities but if your heart isn’t in the right place, then what use are all your gifts? If your identity is wrapped up in what you do rather than who you are, then that identity is resting on a slippery slope. Who you are as a man or a woman is infinitely more important than who you are on the outside. God’s way more interested in the state of your heart than the state of your bank account. He cares more about the person you are than the position you hold. 1 Samuel 16:7 says”…man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.”
So first and foremost, take care of your heart. Cultivate it. Weed out the bad things and nurture the good. Focus on becoming the person God made you to be and find your identity in who he says you are. Once you do that, the other things begin to fall into place.