Life Matters

Let me be clear, all lives matter.  The poignant question of the Psalmist, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him,” (Ps. 8:4) forces us to recognize the profound meaning of God, the Creator, considering us.  This, my friends, is meaning.  This should be enough for anyone to conclude, life matters.  God is interested in us.

Unfortunately, our tendency to idolize the material, to aggrandize the superficial and to memorialize baser things causes us to lose perspective.  Our obsession with celebrity leads us to dismiss the importance of ordinary contributions.  Our success-driven philosophies cause us to measure our efforts by worldly standards.  As a result, the husband who is not rich, feels like a failure.  The wife who is not a super-model feels insecure.  The teenage boy who is not the star athlete at the high school feels like a disappointment.  The pastor who is not building the fastest growing church in his state and receiving honorary doctorates at his alma mater feels like he has missed something.

While this may seem like too much talk about “feelings” for some, it is a reality nonetheless.  And, though Christian living is about selfless service, it is also true that it is rooted in the kind of worship that is a response to the realization that a holy and wonderful God created us and loves us.  This kind of worship provides the ultimate meaning.  Once we see this, we can then move toward the life that is less self-aware.  The command to “ thy neighbor as thyself,” (Mt. 22:39), is predicated upon a proper love for self.  To despise yourself is strange.  To love yourself is normal.  To love others as you love yourself is Christian service.

Living a life that matters requires some perspective.  Understanding that everyone cannot pastor the biggest church or make the most money or run the fastest is only the beginning.  Realizing the potential that ordinary people have for great things is the key to living your life with meaning.  Solomon told us:

Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.  I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.  (Ecc. 9:10-11)

Here are a few helps for living your life with meaning:

1.  Be aware of and grateful for the time that you have.

“...time and chance...”  As you should already know, life is short (Jm. 4:14).  We only have one life to live and it seems almost predictably axiomatic to suggest that we should want to live it with meaning.  While one year can pass with hardly anything accomplished at all, a great deal can be achieved in a decade of time by anyone who tries.  Every day that you wake up, you have a God-given opportunity to do something.  I have read that a person can give an hour a day, five days a week for five years to anything and become an expert.  Time happeneth to all - what will you do with your time?

2. Look for opportunities to do something.

“...chance happeneth to them all.”  Opportunities abound!  You have people under your own roof that need to be encouraged.  You have friends that you have neglected.  Nursing homes are filled with forgotten people.  The needs and opportunities are endless.  You have talent and ability, gifts that God has given you that you have never developed.  Add meaning to your life by mastering some opportunity to serve others in a meaningful way.  Commit for the long-haul.  You may not pastor a large church but that couple that you win to the Lord and strengthen in the faith does not care about your connections.  They are thankful that you ministered (served) to them.  You may not write books but you can write a note or an email to someone who needs to know that you prayed for them.

3.  Whatever God gives you to do, do it and do your best.

“Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might...”  This is how you find meaning!  Find what God has gifted you to do, develop it over time and never stop trying to get better, and then begin doing something for God to help others and do it with all your might.  You might wake up one day and realize that God has used you.  At that point, what difference does it make if your name is on a building at some college?

I do not remember who won the ’72 world series or the ’81 Super Bowl or the NCAAF National Championship in 1998.  I do; however, remember every school teacher, Sunday school teacher and coach that I ever had.  Every small success that I have I owe to my parents, my pastor, my youth director, my in-laws, my wife and my friends of a lifetime.  Who do I need to impress?  My life matters, and so does yours.
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