It appears to me that many go through life totally ignorant of its purpose. Instead of discovering our true purpose and identity in a loving God (and in turn loving each other), they seek material gain. We oftentimes search for what makes us feel better either materially or emotionally. After all, ‘Isn't it my right to feel good?’
Many very easily get angry at the one who graciously gave us this gift of life and many other benefits and blessings that accompany it, when these are taken away. Rarely anyone thanks him for life – it is taken for granted, although the Bible says the span of a man's life is three score and ten (70 years).
Does a long life mean a good life?
When did the meaning of life, the quality of our character and how we treat and love other people get trumped by length of life? Life – no matter how short – is a miracle, because the opposite of life is non-existence. Our lives cannot be judged by their length as some kind of measuring rod that ascertains its meaning or its fullness.
If an infant lives for but a day, yet in that day has felt the kiss of its mother, or the warm embrace of its father and has felt the golden rays of the sun on its face even for a moment, hasn't it lived its one day on earth in full?
In days of old, the most noble of young warriors would rise to the call for battle – for king and country – and in the bravery of defending and protecting their homeland and families, they would be slain. ANZAC Day is almost upon us, when we will commemorate how these soldiers lived for something, and they died for that something – and that something was usually bigger than themselves.
Their lives stood for more than just their current and immediate needs. We say the years will not age them, they had no juicy superannuation plan and a sports car upon retirement. Its meaning and significance to the nation carried more weight than all of these superficial things.
When faced with any type of tragedy, the Bible speaks of thankfulness. This prompts us to ponder the question: ‘How often do we thank God?’. Moreover, how grateful are we of each person as a gift of grace given to us – totally undeserved? The danger is to take that individual’s presence in our lives as a 'given'. Did we realise that the love of a friend or a family member – or even the care of a nurse in our dying hours – is a gift?
Other's lives and their contribution to our life is something we have done absolutely nothing to deserve. Sadly, too many of us consider these things as our 'right'.
A different perspective
There have been millions on earth who have never experienced the love of a true parent or even the companionship of a single true friend. There have been countless numbers who have been born and raised in slavery (and still are). There are many this very day who sift through garbage dumps daily for food and live short and sick lives. Where are their rights? Where is their comfy warm house, 'meat and two veg' on the table, their soft retirement package?
We are so quick to ignore God, ignore his gracious gift of life to the extent of being so busy with life's interests, lusts or greed that we forget why we have even been given life in the first place! God has given us our very life. After all, in the darkness of non-being, did we suddenly conjure our own will from nothing, and cause ourselves to 'be'?
But in realising this, how often do we ponder and thank him for it? How often do we softly speak a 'thank you' during those gold moments of joy with our families? How often do we ask ourselves, ‘How blessed am I to have the gift of existence?’ – where there could have been no existence at all. And in that existence, to even have the blessing of one person who LOVES me for no other reason than because I exist?
We can get on our high horse and shake our fist at God and yell, “If only he was in MY shoes he'd understand! If he got of his cloud and lived my life I'm sure he would change things!”
What most people don't realise is that he did. God DID get off his cloud, God in Christ did become a human being and live amongst us, he was born into a poor family, in a dirty stable no less surrounded by animal dung.
He lived a life of selflessness, he lived a life of love, he was called the 'suffering servant', and it is in him that we find our true purpose and meaning in this life – it is in him that we can live selfless, loving and gracious lives. Lives that bring honour and glory not only to God but to the other people alongside us as we live it.
You have been given this amazing gift called life through no power of your own. So, I would like to pose the following challenge: ‘Wherever we are and in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, what are we doing with it toward love and service?
Tim Everton hails from the beautiful Southern Coast of South Australia. He is currently studying his second year of counselling and in his off-time he pursues design, creating miniature nerdy things, the making his next cafe latte. He has recently started a small business in which he and his girlfriend teach people how to create wondrous miniature things, if wondrous miniature things interest you feel free to check out his websites, www.facebook.com/miniatureworldsworkshop/ http://www.miniatureworldsworkshop.com.au/
Tim Everton’s previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/tim-everton.html