Ikagia is a Japanese word that is difficult to translate but could be translated as vocation, it is your motivating force, the reason you get up in the morning and the words you would want to read about yourself in your obituary.
St. Paul’s ‘Ikagia’ would be “for me to live is Christ and to die is gain!” John Wimbers’ said his purpose was to run the race Christ had for him and to take as many people with him as he could! What is your Ikagia? Does it look like Jesus or does it resemble the tower of Babel?
Who are we living for? Is it ourselves to be like the rich fool who gains the whole world but yet loses their life? Or is it for Christ building with gold that will last for all eternity? Where are we going in our life? And how are we getting there are we blessing those we travel alongside
Over the course of these few days we have looked at work and purpose being something good given to us before the fall. We have looked at the distortion of sin which has confused our purpose and our destiny. We looked at vocation being bigger than just working for the Church but rather God’s call is for his people to be his salt and light in the world, often called to industries that perhaps Christians have historically shunned such as the arts or politics. Yet also questioning whether some activities and roles were comparable with the call to follow Christ?
So, how can we know where God is calling us? The Japanese word here helps us a little here, asking ourselves “What we are good at?”, “What you love and are passionate about?”, “What does the word need?” and “What can you get paid for?”
Recently I was involved in a piece of youth work where we had a steering group of young people that gathered other young people together for a consultation about what it was like being a young person in our town and talking about ‘aspirations’, and interestingly we discovered that many of the young people’s aspirations were about ‘being a good person’, being spiritual and having hobbies with s healthy work life balance, having healthy and functioning relationships. I remember as a teenager the aspiration we were force fed was about getting a job and earning money.
For a long time whilst I was a Vicar it was all consuming and although I poured my everything into being a good Vicar (but was never enough for some parishioners who would tell you they felt neglected!) but came to realise that there was also the call to be a good husband/dad/uncle/nephew/friend/colleague and neighbor all of which also really mattered to God, the call if God was for a whole life not just the spiritual part of it.
Eugene Peterson talks of the world squeezing us into its mould let the call of Christ us towards liberation to be the person we were created to be. In the Lord’s prayer Jesus prayed that: “your (God’s) Kingdom would come on earth as in heaven”, which I believe is a call for every believer who loves Jesus and has a pulse! It will look different for all of us!
So let us explore where God is calling us to shine out like stars on the universe as we live for Christ in all we say and do and in who we are.