Giving Tuesday

April 20th

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What I Have Learned

Ideas we can all take to heart in our quest to discover our own best ways of serving God.

Kurt_Senskeweb At one time or another we all, as human beings, struggle and wrestle with the question “What is God calling me to do?”

After more than a decade of intentional Biblical reflection, numerous conversations, the penning of several books, thousands of missteps and an occasional victory, I’d like to ask you to allow me to share what I have learned via my own journey.

What I have learned is that we must be intentional about placing our relationship with God at the center of our lives. When we take time to pray, study the Word, attend worship and partake of Jesus’ body and blood, we naturally become aware of ways in which we can humbly be of service to others.

What I have learned is that when our faith is strong, we become less so that we can become more. We humbly allow God to work through the daily routines of our lives to fulfill God’s plan for us. We find that we gain deep satisfaction knowing that this is how we are to serve in this particular moment – being the carpool mom, coaching our son’s baseball team, spending the night in the hospital caring for a friend, or building a well in Ethiopia.

What I have learned is that as we reduce our own egos and focus instead on the needs of the world, we will discover doors that magically open and chance meetings will occur. We become stronger than our wildest dreams.

What I have learned is that we begin each day forgiven and renewed to write a brand-new story – one of service marked by intensity and integrity, remembering that the only narrative that matters is how well we serve those whom we encounter.

What I have learned is to pay attention to times of suffering, hardship and disappointment. They are God-given opportunities to discover a new purpose in our lives, to, in the words of Martin Luther, “work out the salvation in our lives.”

What I have learned is that living a life of significance is not a destination, but rather an ongoing journey as we disown ourselves and follow Christ’s calling for us.

What I have learned is that as Christians, we live with the confidence that death indeed has lost its sting. Grasping both the futility and eternal significance of our lives, we comprehend that it is how we live each day, not what we do, that truly matters.

Finally, what I have learned, have come to deeply respect and sometimes fear, is the immense power we receive when we become bold in our faith and actions. I believe in the power of members of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans – that individually and collectively, we have the God-given opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others via our community, congregation, family and profession.

Note: The following article was reprinted with permission from the Winter 2011 issue of Thrivent magazine, a quarterly member publication of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans.

Dr. Kurt Senske serves as CEO of Lutheran Social Services of the South and as chairman of the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Board of Directors. He is the author of The Calling: Live a Life of Significance. Learn more at

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