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Posts Tagged ‘satisfying life’

Lives That Matter

March 26th, 2014

“What good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV.

Begin where you are; use what you’ve got; do what you can.

My thoughts and comments today are about, “lives that matter.”

Your contribution may not always be noticed until it is no longer being made. Without you, others’ lives would be less. Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor?” Matthew 5:13 NIV. In isolation, salt makes no difference. But when interacting, salt provides what is lacking and enhances what is already there. Your life is meant to do the same. Salt is in almost every prepared food or snack that you eat. When it’s there you hardly notice; when it is not, you detect its absence immediately.

Often, you won’t know the benefits you bring into others’ lives until much later, maybe never specifically. And others may not recognize the difference you make until they are without your contribution. You are “the salt of the earth,” when you value living benevolently and beneficially, however small your effort seems to you or unnoticed it may be by others. “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord and not for men.” Read Colossians 3:23-24 NIV. Do so purposely, not for others’ recognition, appreciation, or applause. For a life that matters in your realm of daily influence, be deliberate, intentional, and purposeful.

Life is most self-fulfilling when what you do benefits others and glorifies Christ Jesus. Possibly, only eternity will fully reveal the extent of what you do. That’s what a successful, satisfying life is about. What you contribute in your community, on your job, in your school, in your home and family, and in your friendships has the power to make others’ lives better and your life matter, now and eternally.

Don’t worry about others noticing your contribution, and begin noticing and complimenting theirs. People take a lot of things for granted, therefore they may also take people for granted who improve their lives. While waiting around for your chance to make a big difference, you may be missing opportunities for making a difference now and being prepared for greater influence later. If you don’t start where you are with what you could do, you probably won’t start at all. “Anyone then, who knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins.” James 4:17 NIV. Begin where you are; use what you’ve got; do what you can. That’s how you prosper and others benefit.

You are created, called, and empowered to make a contribution unique to your abilities, experience, personality and opportunities. Jesus’ followers are supposed to be seed, salt, light, and leaven. Common to all of those are lives that matter – an immeasurable potential for making profitable changes in others and profound improvements around them. As such, your life matters most when you are willing to be where you are most needed, doing what you were best designed by God to do. You can’t do everything, but everyone can do something. Do what you can, “as working for the Lord.”

My prayer for you today is that you contribute what you have and who you are for others’ benefit.

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The Satisfying Life

August 30th, 2010

“Those . . called according to (God’s) purpose for them.” Romans 8:28 NLT

“Purpose combines the fullest measure of personal satisfaction with the highest level of success.”

My thoughts today are about “the satisfying life.”

At some point, everyone must choose a direction for their life. The direction itself is not so much the real question, as is how and why you chose that direction. Ultimately, the most satisfying life is not of your own making; it is the product of a true, inner sense of purpose and meaning, committing to something much bigger and far reaching than yourself – something beyond your own desires and plans – the calling and will of God for your life. If you are occupied primarily with charting your own satisfying happiness without God at its center, you will fall short of your goal.

The choices affecting the direction of one’s life are usually decided by what you perceive your destination to be, but won’t your efforts be misdirected if the destination you desire is less worthy than it could have been? Allow me an oversimplification, but a necessary one – if God’s will and purpose are not your first and foremost consideration, anything else will likely be a wrong direction that leads eventually to an inadequate, unsatisfying objective. You can successfully get what you went after in life and still find that’s not what you thought it would be. Too many people settle for a life too small; don’t be one of those.

Jesus set a very high, but authentic standard with these words, “I always do those things that are pleasing to (the Father) . . I brought You glory on earth by completing the work You gave Me to do.” John 8:29 NLT/17:4 NIV. To the degree you will govern your life with those goals, you will achieve the highest level of true success with the fullest measure of personal satisfaction. Read Psalm 16:11 NIV/1 Thessalonians 4:1 NIV. You can choose your destination; only God can set your destiny.

When I have spoken with groups of young collegians, I often ask these life-questions: “When you get where you’re going, where will you be? When you’ve done it your way, what will the results be? When you get what you want, what will you have?” Before you do the hard work to set a clear goal for your life and spend an irreplaceable lifetime achieving it, be sure it is the right goal – a life lived “according to God’s purpose,” fulfilling His calling and assignment. See 2 Timothy 4:6-8 NLT.

“There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat. And we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.” (William Shakespeare in Julius Caesar). The purpose of God, to which you are called, is such “a tide in the affairs of men.” Don’t live life in the shallows!

Ultimate success is not found in the hollow applause or elusive approval of others, but rather in your hearing God say when you stand before Him, “Well done, good and faithful servant . . come and share your Master’s happiness.” Matthew 25:21 NIV.

My prayer for you today is that you choose the path He has chosen for you.

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The Simple and Satisfying Life

September 25th, 2009

“What do you have that God hasn’t given you?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

“You serve at God’s pleasure, with God’s provision, under God’s direction.”

My thoughts today are about “the simple and satisfying life”

It is tempting to presume that who you are, or what you have, or what you can do is of our own making. It rarely, if ever, is. Your individual talents, abilities, possessions, and even your relationships and opportunities are not things you own. When Paul was addressing the pride and boasting of believers in Corinth, he challenged them to consider, “What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why boast as though you have accomplished something on your own?” 1 Corinthians 4:7 NLT. Not easy to miss Paul’s point or debate his reasoning.

Among the first words a toddler learns to express is their declaration of ownership, “Mine!” And it seems that one of the hardest and last things they learn as adults is how very few things really are! If they ever realize it at all. The Bible describes this insatiable need to own and control and the internal and external conflicts that result in this way, “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you?” James 4:1 NIV.

There is very little that originates with any of us, or of which any of us are truly owners; you are really a steward spiritually of whatever has been entrusted to you by God, out of His grace and ample provision. See 1 Corinthians 4:2 NIV. That being true, you are not free to do with that as you please. You serve at God’s pleasure, out of God’s provision, under God’s direction, and with ultimate accountability to Him. “As each has received a special gift, employ it in serving one another as good stewards of the manifold grace of God  . . So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.” Romans 14:12 NIV/1 Peter 4:10 NAS. That’s what stewards do.

I think that most of would prefer be owners, but the reality is that all of us are stewards – a more current business position would be called a manager. A manager is a person given a trust by someone else to faithfully and effectively serve the other’s best intents and interests. With that trust comes a required loyalty and accountability. Loyalty and accountability are not optional for anyone, especially stewards. “Now a person who is put in charge as a manager must be faithful. What about me? Have I been faithful? . . It is the Lord Himself who will examine me and decide.” 1 Corinthians 4:2-4 NLT.

Owner or steward? You have to decide. Life is so much simpler for you when you have less to worry about and fewer to whom you answer. Anything you have is out of His gracious supply; everything you are is the product of His presence in your life; all that you can do or give is to be for His service and glory. That’s the simple and satisfying life.

My prayer for you today is: rejoice to be a recipient and steward of God’s benevolence.

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