Monday, June 17, 2013

How To Die Happy and Successful

The America culture has a rotten underlying premise when it comes to the meaning and purpose of our lives.

Here’s how it is supposed to go according to the media (magazines, television shows, movies, billboards, etc.):

1. America is the best country on earth because we all have the right, the freedom, to pursue happiness.

2. The culture teaches us success (in pursuing this happiness) is acheiving money, fame, power and/or influence.

Have you any of these?

Are you walking around in the latest fashion, able to go to the spa and receive Botox injections, and liposuction? Is your life filled with expensive vacations avoiding the pesky paparazzi? Is your day filled with Dow Jones updates? Do you have Senators over for a few drinks?

No? The conclusion is: You have failed. Sorry.
Along with the vast, vast major of Americans we get a "F" in the current American dream of success.

We all know something is wrong with this premise. We all know the people who achieve this vacuous success are superficial and unhappy, but we still dream of fame and fortune anyway. We still worry that our lives won’t have any meaning unless our personal contribution is written in newspaper headlines or is accompanied by a big check.

As Christians we chastise ourselves for secretly desiring fame and fortune, because we know what really matters. It’s our faithfulness to Christ and to each other. However, we still couch this love in terms of how much money we give to charity or how noteworthy our involvement is. We take pictures of our mission trips and put them on our Facebook and in our church newspapers for proof. We want our names attached to our philanthropic sacrifices. I have actually seen church pews with the donators' names on them.

It’s still about the love of money and fame rather than about something much more meaningful. When our heads rests for the final time, I doubt we will be thinking of our fame, our fortune or our influence per se. We will be thinking of the value of our lives in eternal terms.

Okay, so what do we do to live these eternal values? If its not about money, power or fame, what is it about? What truly gives our lives meaning?

The three ways through which God shows us His love are the ways we can give true and lasting meaning to our lives. These are beauty, truth and goodness.

If you want your life to have genuine meaning, use your time and talents to bring God into the world through beauty, truth and goodness.

If you love to sing, don’t sing for fame or money, learn to sing with beauty and sing beautiful songs. Don’t go with what is popular or sells, sing about something of goodness and truth. And you will die happy for you lived a meaningful life.

If you are a hospital administrator, use your talents to bring the patients and medical team under your supervision beauty, truth and goodness. Don’t let money be the bottom line. If you live your life bringing truth and goodness, you will die happy and successful.

If you work in the complaints department of Sears, let your words be filled with truth and goodness. If you work with computers or machinery, if you are an educator, a builder, or an insurance adjuster make your life goals to bring beauty, truth and goodness into the world and you will die knowing your life was of value. 

Ask yourself daily if what you are doing is making your space more beautiful. Just doing something little like planting flowers, opening the window to see the blue skies is bringing beauty. Wear something that makes you feel good as a Christian. Living sloppy can depress us and devalue ourselves in our own eyes as well as others. 

Ask yourself if what you are doing today bringing truth. Do you live a truthful life? That takes research and thought, and honesty. 

Ask yourself if you bring goodness into your daily living. Are your words filled with good things? Are your actions good? 

These little acts of truth, beauty and goodness build, gradually build until these seeds of God's grace blossom and life turns into joy and peace. These great gifts take the stress out of success--for anyone, anywhere can start anytime.

No matter how wealthy or influential you are --you can be a child or a billionaire--you always have access to these three things. These gift of God are what bring meaning and happiness to our lives. And they are accessible to everyone.