Our household is filled with Disney fandom. So when a new movie comes out, especially an animated film, we are pretty quick to go see it. Wall-E came out this last week. And if you haven't been touched by the Disney propaganda machine, then I will provide a brief plot summary. Wall-E is apparently the last working robot left on Earth to clean up the mess that consumerist Earthlings (Stuff-ans) have made while the Stuff-ans have launched themselves into space aboard a trans-galactic luxury liner. Wall-E scrounges around the urban landscape compacting the leftovers of human civilzation. He encounters the humans when he hitchhikes aboard a probe ship and causes havok among the "civilized" robots and humans.
There were a lot of themes followed in this movie. Environmentalism and consumerism were the most obvious with their most catastrophic ends being protrayed. But for me, the real movement of the movie came through in the idea of becoming more than what your "directives" are.
For Wall-E, his directive is to go around scooping up trash, compacting it into cubes, and then stacking it. But Wall-E goes beyond his directive. He doesn't just compact the trash. He sorts through what he finds and salvages things he likes as well as things he needs or can make use of. He makes friends with an indestructable cockroach (which I might point you to a recent episode of Mythbusters where they test that theory) and develops a hankering for Hello Dolly!, the musical. And Wall-E even goes so far as to begin constructing monoliths of the compacted cubes of trash with design and engineering.
When Wall-E begins to encounter others, he begins to nurture the idea of becoming more than the directives say. It starts with Mo, a quirky, albeit anal-retentive, floor scrubber. Mo, like the other robots aboard the luxury liner, follow the lines between their point of origin and their destination. Until Wall-E forces Mo to move beyond the established line. It happens in many different interactions Wall-E has with robot and human alike.
Ultimately we should ask ourselves, are we doing what we are suppsed to do? Or are we pushing the boundaries to discover what we are truly able to do? Being in a new appointment means discovering what I am "supposed" to do. Every church has expectations and desires of their pastor. I am now in the learning phase of that. But I am also pushing the limits of what I am able to do. Slowly. Cautiously. Without a desire to destroy the relationship that is building.
But I have found this to be true: if we do only what we are "supposed" to do, we will become bored, burned out, and possibly bitter. But if we can push the limits and discover what we are really able to do, then we can grow and develop. 19 years ago, I never thought I would be able to play guitar and lead worship with it. Now it is common. But I had to push myself to discover that.
Try something new. Discover a hidden talent. Develop a new hobby. Push yourself to do what you are truly able to do. God gave you that gift for a reason. Take it out and put it to use.