To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist. That’s all. -Oscar Wilde
Do you truly live, or do you just exist? I think it’s good to ask ourselves this question, and ask it regularly. I happen to be reading “Don’t Waste Your Life” by John Piper and John and I are going through “The Purpose Driven Life” by Rick Warren. The combination of those two books have made me think a lot. How am I living? Am I plodding through, consumed with what’s in front of me, with all the things that I’m not even going to be able to take with me after I die? Or am I passionately pursuing what God created me to do..? My purpose?
Yesterday my pastor said this, “There’s only two things you can take with you when you die. Your relationship with God, and your relationships with people.” And yet considering where I spend my time, how high do these two things rate on my list of importance? Higher than they used to, for sure. But are they #1 and #2? It’s easy to think so. But when I take a step back and look at how I ration my little bit of time allotted to me in this life, I’m not sure that they are #1 and #2 in my life. I don’t do this to discourage myself. But to change. To rearrange my time. To put purpose behind what I do.. behind who I am.
And so I am determined, to put my focus in the right place. First on my Savior, Jesus, secondly on the people around me. Friends and family, but also on the ones I don’t know; The people I meet at the grocery store, the people I welcome to church on Sundays. And I’m determined to branch out beyond that. To meet people that don’t generally (ever?) cross my path. To help at the soup kitchen, food pantry or somewhere like that. Because, that’s really all that matters, right? To let Christ live through me and touch those around me? When I think of how He lived, how He spent his time (because I honestly think how you spend your time shows exactly where your heart is and what is important to you) He divided it between time alone with God, time with his disciples, and the rest of the time was with people who had no “claim” on his attention. I want to be just like Him.
John Piper was saying in his book how we find our deepest satisfaction and joy when our passion is in doing what God created us specifically to do. That letting Him live His life through us, we will be the most happy that we ever could be. I think that’s why happiness escapes so many people. Including me. I’m a happy person. But I can say that I’ve struggled intensely at times to find true happiness. And I think it’s because our focus is backward. We go on an epic quest to figure out what makes us happy, what can I do to make ME happy, what are the things that make ME feel alive? Instead of asking God what makes HIM happy, what are the things that make HIS soul fed? If we start from that direction, we slip into the background, and it doesn’t matter so much anymore what makes us happy. And then comes the crazy part. When we don’t care anymore about what we want, and get totally consumed in what God wants, in living His life, then we are happier than anything in the world could make us. It’s a mystery.
There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy. Psalm 43:4a
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