“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, honorable, compassionate, and have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
One of the first questions you are asked as a child is, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” What was your answer? Doctor, nurse, teacher, firefighter, movie star, famous athlete, rock star, police officer, astronaut, President of the United States, a billionaire?
Most of us start in life with compassion for others and a desire deep within our soul to love and serve others, but then the wear and tear of life pounds against our lives like a category-five hurricane, and we slip into the abyss of self. We are already selfish by nature, but life on life’s terms can quickly take our focus on ourselves to extreme levels.
Countless teachings warn against living for one’s self-interest. Yet, we ignore those teachings and fall into the delusion that the more we possess, the more powerful, relevant, important, and respected we will become. The quest for “MORE” becomes our purpose for living, and unfortunately, at any cost. We waste precious time chasing personal gain and squander endless opportunities to make a difference in the world.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “the purpose of life is not to be happy.” Do you agree with his sentiment? The paradox of his statement is that living for a purpose other than yourself leads to a life where you become happy and useful. The goal is not to be satisfied, the aim is to love and serve others, but within that purpose, we discover the key to living the best life ever, but it’s easy to miss.
What drives your life? What are your ambitions? What do you think about most? Your answer validates what you care about most; generally, it’s yourself. Does your life seem meaningless, yet you have accumulated many possessions, or if you wish, you have acquired “A Whole Lot of Stuff.” The more stuff you have, the more you have to worry about and the more time you waste taking care of your possessions. Do you hold the title to your stuff, or do your possessions hold the title to your soul?
Anne Frank once said, “No one has ever become poor by giving.” Statistics validate that people only give 2% of their earnings to charitable causes and keep the rest for themselves. We tend to live from a position of scarcity versus trusting in God’s abundance to provide for our needs. We are spendthrifts and justify our lifestyle by adjusting it up or down to meet the 98% threshold. The more we earn, the more we keep for ourselves. At the root of our soul are those famous words “it’s mine.”
A friend from Canada recently made this statement, “You Can’t Get To Heaven in a Uhaul.” But by God, we will surely give it a valiant effort. I recently saw a cartoon of a mother opening her garage full of stuff and saying to her son, “this will all be yours someday.” Have you ever had that experience, someone leaving you their estate to deal with? Who we bless with our time, talents, and finances will be more important than leaving the world with a garage full of junk and titles to stuff that most people don’t want.
Who needs your help? Live for that, not your possessions. Who can you start helping today that will make a BIG difference in how your life turns out? Be generous with your time, talent, and finances. Instead of keeping 98%, learn to live off 90%, 80%, or even 50%, and give the rest away to help those in need. Not because they deserve it but because they need it. You will discover the key to a joyful and fruitful life and avoid the same demise as Ebenezer Scrooge.
The greatest teacher to ever walk the earth, past, present, or future, gave us this truth, 34-37 Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me, and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self. What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? 38 “If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.” (Mark 8:34-37) (The Message)
“The greatest value in life is not what you get; the greatest value in life is what you become, and what you become leads to all the great things.” ~ Jim Rohn
God of love, You created me in Your image and gave me “free will.” In my wicked state, my default is to care only for myself and run my life as I see fit. I am seeking power, glory, and prestige that will serve only my desires and goals for living. God grant me the ability to live to help and not possess. Please help me want what You want for my life. Relieve me of the bondage of self, so I can better do thy will always and forever. In Your name, I pray these things. Amen.