If you are fortunate enough to live a relatively trouble-free life, count your blessings. However, as you do, remember that avoiding trouble and enjoying a smooth ride isn’t necessarily the essence of a good life. There is much more to consider.
One huge factor that influences our degree of personal satisfaction is knowing why we’re here—why we’ve been given time and space on a seriously flawed planet. The answer is not easily obtained.
For many, the search for fame, fortune, and personal happiness ranks as highly important. They believe that a right combination of these three can produce a life of happiness! However, those who have achieved these often tell us there is far more meaning in the journey than the destination.
The cruel truth that many discover too late is that just when they figure life out, the sunset years are upon them and it all begins to fade.
Surely life is more than savvy business deals, fancy cars, and knowing the right people. The accoutrements of success are often confused with the real thing.
A life without purpose can be exciting, focused, and even productive. But ultimately it will lack meaning and durability! It doesn’t take exceptional brilliance to be born, go to school, find a job, get married, have kids, eventually retire and die. People do it every day. Yet, with discernment we can understand the difference between doing time and living the dream.
Trouble can actually be a positive thing, in that is forces us to ask the hard questions.
Finding our purpose fills us with a sense of wonder and awe! I’m not talking about the mere struggle to survive, or the trauma we feel with trying to make ends meet. Rather, I’m talking about a reverence for life that moves us to ask why. Why should we even bother? Why should we work? Why live?
Most people work because they have to. They have bills to pay and mouths to feed. Some do it because they like being able to help others. And yes, there are some (a relatively lucky few) who do it because it’s fun! They love their jobs so much they would be willing to pay to do them. This isn’t true for most. According to the results of a Linked In survey published in February 2016, 80% of employees don’t enjoy their jobs. In fact, they hate them. So what keeps them going? Survival. Certainly nothing of eternal significance.
It would be well for us each to write out a mission statement that summarizes what we want our lives to be. Here’s mine:
“To challenge everyone I meet, by example and through creative energy, to hunger after righteousness, seek justice and show mercy. My primary indicator of success is how well my life reflects the elements of Matthew 7:12.”
A Biblical Mandate
“Seize life…Oh yes—God takes pleasure in your pleasure! Dress festively every morning. Don’t skimp on colors and scarves. Relish life with the spouse you love each and every day of your precarious life. Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange for the hard work of staying alive. Make the most of each one! Whatever turns up, grab it and do it. And heartily! This is your last and only chance at it, for there’s neither work to do nor thoughts to think in the company of the dead, where you’re most certainly headed” (Ecclesiastes 9:7, The Message).
“Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people” (Colossians 3:23).
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.
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