So I had been meaning to write about life purpose for months, then I saw this one-word prompt from The Daily Post:
Immediately, I was reminded of a message I recently gave at a leadership course, where I showed this picture:
The image drives home a point:
You, me, and every single person on this planet can expect, without any doubt, to have the same end.
The life of mortals is like grass,
they flourish like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more. (Psalm 103:15-16)
We all need to muster the courage to admit it: Your life in this world as well as mine can end at any time, and every day brings us closer to the finish line. A morbid thought, some would say. Nevertheless, inevitable.
No pushing it out of our minds can change this fact, and every moment spent in denial or refusal to contemplate it is a moment wasted, truth to tell.
And so the psalmist says,
Teach us to number our days,
that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12)
How does a clear view of our mortality change the way we live? How does the realization that our days are numbered make a difference in how we spend each one of them?
Would you dare do it? See yourself in that coffin? Take a look at that photo again. What will you have done with your life by the time your remains are placed in that box? What kind of person will you have been — what kind of son/daughter, spouse, parent, sibling, friend, worker, leader, community member? What thoughts would be running in the minds of the people at your funeral? And what would be awaiting you beyond this earthly life?
In an old post I shared what I learned from Stephen Covey about proceeding with life with the end in mind. In a nutshell, the 2nd of Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People talks about beginning today with the image of the end of your life as your frame of reference or the criterion by which everything else is examined. As you do this, each part of your life — today’s behavior, tomorrow’s behavior, next week’s behavior, next month’s behavior — can be examined and lived out in the context of the whole, of what really matters most to you.
I professed to make Jesus Lord of my life more than 18 years ago, but it was only in the last few years that my eyes have truly been opened to the supreme value of anchoring my entire life’s purpose and meaning on my relationship with Him, my Savior:
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
I could not save myself from the penalty of my sin, so Jesus came to save me.
Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
And His love compels me to live for Him!
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (Galatians 2:20)
No longer I, but Christ in me. This is the exchanged life.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. (1 Corinthians 10:31)
Here then, is the chief purpose and meaning of my life: To glorify God in all that I think, say and do, in all my relationships, interactions and decisions.
I made a list of how this is to be concretely manifested in my everyday life — how I will have lived by the time I end my brief stay in this world.
What would your list look like?
Would you make Jesus the anchor of your life’s purpose and meaning, too?