One feature I appreciate about being a pastor is that it often forces me to look at life in its totality. I remember a few Saturdays where I had left a funeral, doing my best to help loved ones find closure; to celebrate a wedding where life as a family was just beginning. Such experiences have stretched my view of life and I am grateful.
Even at this moment, I am involved with a number of individuals in their closing chapters of this life, while I take part in a children’s camp focused on the opening chapters of theirs.
For people in ministry, three questions of life are always before them:
What can be done with one’s life?
What is being done with one’s life?
What has been done with one’s life?
Schedules are hectic and it is human nature to live in the day-to-day; but even so, those three questions hang over all of us, whether we give them attention or not.
So what does it take for you and me to honestly claim:
I am preparing to do the most with my life.
I am doing the most with my life.
I have done the most with my life.
When I try to envision what that looks like, I see the Apostle Paul. He is an old man ravaged by age and hardship. He is writing to a young man named Timothy who is just beginning his life of ministry. This old man does not confess regrets or “should have been’s”. Instead he writes:
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness.” (2 Tim 4:7, 8)
Paul has done the most with his life and not only is he gratified rather than regretful, he is inspired by what is yet to come! …Here’s the thing: Religion in itself, won’t make you into a “Paul.” Being a “Christian” is no guarantee to fulfillment. It goes deeper than that. Jesus put it this way, “He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matt 10:39)
God has designed us beyond animal instinct, beyond mere self-survival; we find our full humanity in how we GIVE, not in how we TAKE. Christianity strives to align with the One who designed our humanity. That is why giving is a core principle of the faith.
It’s a simple principle; the MOST in life cannot be experienced by taking. It can only be experienced through giving. That is how we are designed. That is where we find completeness.
Want the MOST in life? Try giving it away; that’s how you just might find it.
Anyway, it is certainly food for thought.