Wednesday, October 28, 2009

WEDNESDAY WEEKLY WORD ... having a meaningful life

As I get older, I often look back and reflect on the strides and the accomplishments that I can see. Some are good but so many fall short of what I had intended for my life. When it is all said and done, I want to reach the end of my life and be able to say, "it's been meaningful".

Many people think that to have a meaningful life it is all about keeping life ... but in reality it is quite the opposite. Meaningful living is "giving your life away". That is what Jesus did and it is exactly what He taught us to do.

LUKE 9:23,24 "Then He said to them all: If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. (24) For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for Me will save it."

In this self centered, "grab all you can get" world - this message probably is not very well received. But if we look at this teaching that Jesus was giving, it may be what we need to obtain the most meaningful life possible.

Putting others before ourselves. Here is a new concept. If we looked around, what we would see is alot of people trying to "fullfill" their needs and usually at the expense of another. If a person is "unfullfilled" in their marriage and someone else comes along that seems to meet a need, they feel obligated to make sure their needs are met. This only comes with a huge cost. It will cost them everything.

What Jesus is asking us to do is be self-giving. This is different than the self fullfillment I just spoke of. Self giving is not done out of a feeling of unworthiness, selfishness or obligation, it is based on love and commitment modeled after the kind that Christ has.

Putting others before ourselves will make our life more meaningful. We will find meaning because life now has a purpose and in each of us God has given a purpose.

All of us have from time to time have regrets for decisions that we have made. Last week in YOUR OPINION MATTERS POLL, I asked the following question: "What have you denied yourself pleasure of being a part of?" The top 3 answers were:

1. 28% of those polled said that they denied themselves of contributing to a cause in their communtiy.
2. Another 28% of those voting said that they wish they had become involved in ministry at their church.
3. 14% voted and said that they denied themselves of going on a missions trip.

What I noticed about this week's poll is that all of the top list of things we have denied ourselves with has something to do with giving of ourselves to other people. There is so much joy, fullfillment and meaning in giving to others as Jesus has taught us. Read this story:

"There is an old chinese tale of a woman whose only son died. When she asked the local holy man to bring her son back to life, he responded, "fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life." So the woman began to search for such a place, the first place she came upon was a mansion. But they told her "You have certainly come to the wrong place" and they began to describe to her all of the sorrow that they had endured. After hearing their story, the woman said to herself, "who is better to help these poor unfortunate people than I?" So she stayed awhile to comfort these people before she moved on. But wherever she turned, she just found more people filled with sadness and misfortune. Soon she became so focused on helping other people that she forgot all about her original quest to seek the mustard seed that was to help her in her sorrow. It wasn't the mustard seed at all that she needed, but it was helping others that drove the sorrow out of her life."

Pick up the cross daily ... and have meaning in your life!
 Someone is dependent upon it.


Denise said...

Very, very true.

Debbie said...

Oh Laurie sometimes I am simply amazed how often our thoughts seem to be similiar. I can't tell you how much recently I have dwelled on this very subject. I want soo much to have my life MEAN something. To have done all I was suppose to do for Him. To be able to stand before Him someday and have Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant." I just wish I had more of this mindset when I was younger. It seems like I am just I more the kind of person who deals with all the "urgent" things that seem to be in front of me. And you know (if anyone does) how 4 kids can occupy your time. But at this season in my life that the Lord has allowed me to reach (empty nest) I find my mind going in different directions and want to reach outside of my own little world more. I was talking the other day about this with my youngest son James (who is the high school pastor) and he did make me feel better when he said, "Mom, whatever are you talking about. You poured your heart and soul into your kids, and that was your ministry, and had the Lord called you home right after that He would have said, Well done good and faithful servant." It was good to hear of course, but I am certain there is more for me to do now. Thanks for posting these wonderful thoughts everyday (or almost everyday, haha) I can't express how much they bless me. Have a wonderful day. Blessings to you too, Debbie