What if the Gospel were my central thing?
In another article, I wrote that finding your central thing helps you achieve everything else that you care about. You can go deep on the central thing and the rest of your life will fall into place.
What is the central thing that I find most appealing? I’d say it would be the Gospel. I can go deep in living the Gospel, and I know things will have the right taste, the right orientation, the right tune.
Attuned to the Gospel
I picture my life’s concerns as a cone. The tip points toward the thing I put at the centre, and the rest of the cone shows the other things I’ve got going.
When I think of the central things toward which I can point that cone, a few of them come to mind: pleasure, work, fulfillment, and giving. Each could be a destination toward which I could orient my life.
Each of these destinations does appeal to me, but they’re all missing something.
All of them feel a little off, especially when I compare their alignment against the Gospel.
Pleasure: I can’t make it a destination. I can’t take this all the way. Although there is much pleasure in a joyful life lived for the Gospel, pleasure isn’t an end in itself for me.
Work: It’s a close one, but it’s not the right one. There is work to be done in living the Gospel (in building the Kingdom), but living the Gospel isn’t just about work. It’s also about contemplation, rest, renewal and (re)connection. I can’t go all the way with work.
Fulfillment: Craftsmanship, skillfulness, effectiveness, efficiency, knowledge, achievement, success. Being at the top of my game. I’m attracted to these… a lot! And yet, when I imagine the end of my days, reaching for my own fulfillment seems secondary to something else. Tuned against a life lived for the Gospel, success rings hollow.
Giving: We’re coming close with this one. Giving is such a big part of surpassing oneself. It requires renouncing our wants, keeping left-overs for others, giving all of what we have, even. I could go a long way toward this destination and be very close to the heart of the Gospel, but it wouldn’t be the same as the Gospel. The Gospel is something else.
The Gospel is something else
To know when you’ve found your central thing, I wrote:
Your central thing will probably be a fuzzy concept, something you can’t really check off your list completely. It’s going to feel big. You’ll know it’s a good one if it scares you a little, if you feel it’s something you’ve been neglecting. It’ll be important, and you’ll know you can go deep in it.
Setting my sights on the Gospel gives me a little bit of fear and a little bit of excitement. It feels big, important, sacred, and well-adjusted, and yet it feels foolish, irrational.
I also can’t check it off completely. I’m never done living the Gospel.
It’s also fuzzy. It’s not completely clear, and putting the Gospel into words is hard. It’s been recounted best using parables and imagery. The skeptic in me would like a reductionist answer, but in the end, it’s my attraction to this that wins out.
And so yeah, it’s appealing to me. I’m attracted to the Gospel.
For these reasons, I know that I’ve hit a good destination by turning my life to face the Gospel1.
Your central thing?
I admit that it feels a little grandiose to claim that the Gospel is my central thing, but I felt these ideas would be best published than kept to myself.
I hope it’s going to help you find your own words to describe your central thing. You could be attracted to the Gospel by naming it differently, or you could be feeling an urgency to centre your life on something else. I hope this was useful, and I’d love to hear how this piece resonated with you.
I’ve heard the word conversion meaning simply to turn toward something. In that sense, adjusting to the Gospel means constant conversion, constant tuning. ↩