February 25, 2012
What makes a life valuable? We human beings often find ourselves trying to decide if our lives will have meant something in the end. Sometimes it is a loved one’s death, a big birthday, or a loss that spurs us to consider what we have done with all of the time that we have been on earth. Almost all of us yearn to ultimately hear, “well done, my good and faithful servant”. Yet we fear we will never achieve that.
What makes a life valuable? We sometimes fear that if we have not discovered penicillin or ended poverty we have not contributed to the world. Fearing that to be the case, we seek to make our mark or leave our legacy. Having children or building skyscrapers might be enough to be remembered, we think. We want people to have loved us enough to gather around at our death and to mourn our lives afterwards.
However, God does not call us all to the same mission. We each have our own unique purpose. It is the way that we are in each moment that adds up to a successful life well lived. God created us to celebrate God, to live in love. When Jesus was asked what is the greatest commandment, he responded “to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself”. Found in this is the key to a successful life. If we find purpose in loving; God, others, and ourselves; if we strive for that every day, we will be great.
Everybody wants to love. Everybody wants to be loved. All the other things that we fill our lives with are just distractions. The real ticket is just to love. In this season of contemplating our mortality, we should be considering what our legacy will be. However, we don’t need to worry about defining success as having had children, been married, or inventing cold fusion. It is simply a matter of did we offer love to others, and accept it when it was offered to us.
The meal program at Summerfield is one of so many opportunities that God puts before us to be an agent of love. We can walk into that dingy basement and see strangers mixed with familiar faces and an hour and a half later know that we shared in the magic of offering someone God’s love. But this miracle can happen anywhere. Make a connection, touch another person, give of yourself. As we live out the mission of loving, we will find that we are loved as well. Then we will have had a successful life!