Enrich Your Personal Life Part I
"For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. If I am to go on living in the body, this will mean fruitful labor for me…."1
Several years ago one grandmother I know sold off the old family home, pulled up her roots, left many of her friends and activities behind, and moved to a retirement village in another town. She had been healthy and energetic all her life, but in the last year after her move she aged considerably and developed a terminal illness.
At age 65 another friend of mine retired from being a full-time minister of a large church and set up a full-time counseling center and wrote his first book. His book became a bestseller and he has since written ten more. At age 80 he had slowed down but was still counseling and writing.
What made the difference between these two people? Like many elderly people who retire or move to another place, the first person suffered deeply from the loss of friends, her home of many years, and the activities she was used to. She became lonely and life for her seemed to lose its meaning. She had no real purpose to carry her through this time of major change and readjustment.
The second person, however, had something to live for long before his retirement. He just continued it after "retirement."
Loneliness, emptiness, boredom, and lack of purpose are all a very real part of modern man's dilemma. They are indicative of our failure to find meaning for living and they show up in the alarming abuse of alcohol and other drugs, and in the high depression and suicide rate.
In America, for example, the most affluent country on earth, some 40,000 people take their own lives each year, while it is estimated that ten times that number attempt to. That means in our country one person out of every 6,000 commits suicide each year. And there are countless others who, while living in the midst of abundance, to quote Henry D. Thoreau, live lives of "quiet desperation."
The tragedy in life, however, is not death, but rather, as Albert Schweitzer once said, "what dies inside a man [or woman] while he/she lives." A person dies inside when he has no meaningful purpose outside of himself for which to live.
To be continued …
Suggested prayer: "Dear God, please help me to discover my God-given life purpose and then, with your help, employ all of my powers for the achievement of this purpose. And please grant that what I contribute will help make the world in which I live a better place for others to live. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully, in Jesus' name, amen."
1. The Apostle Paul in Philippians 1:21-22 (NIV).