“Every decision you make, makes you. Never let other people choose who you’re going to be.” – Cassandra Clare
We have talked with too many people in their later years that, when looking back over their lives, are startled with just how unfulfilling and pointless their lives have been. Oh, they may have worked hard, made it to the top of their organizations, and are revered in their social circles. Still, there is little contentment.
As they put everything they had into attaining worldly success, they look back now to see that the world didn’t provide what they were looking for … things like true love, joy, deep friendships, and the knowledge that they did it “right”.
When your days on earth are over, will you discover that you wasted your life on meaningless things that have no lasting or eternal value? If you died tomorrow, what would others say?
The Third Leg: What Are You Living For?
In our last couple of posts we’ve been busy building a four-legged stool. The first leg of this stool was added by answering the question “Who are you?”. The second leg asked the question “Why are you here?”. Now it’s time to add a little stability to your four-legged stool by answering this question: “What are you living for?”
You see. You might know who you are and even why you are here. But, then you have a decision to make. You can choose to live according to your life’s purpose … or run from it. We have seen people do both and we can say, without any hesitation, that those who followed a life based on who they are and why they are here lived lives of much greater joy, impact, and balance than those that did not.
One of the most influential people during the transition from our days of keeping up with the Joneses to where we are today was Dr. Gary Miller, then provost and senior vice president at Biola University, where Bob earned a degree in organizational leadership.
During a graduation-day luncheon, Dr. Miller was the keynote speaker, and he had the foresight to ask the group some tough questions. His questions, roughly paraphrased, went something like this: “What will you do with all that God has given you—your life, career, experiences, and now, this new degree? Will you seek the things of this world: money, status, position, power, and fame? Or will you seek the things of the Kingdom? Will you seek to use what God has given you to live out His purpose, serve others, and make a difference in the world?”
Ouch! Hard-hitting questions, but we knew our answers immediately. We chose the latter. We admit we had absolutely no idea then what that meant or how we were going to live out our answers, but it was exactly the right questions at the right time. It pierced our hearts and sent us on a long quest to discover who we were, why we were here, and what we were living for. Bob Buford, Halftime Institute founder and bestselling author of Halftime, relates in his book how he came to his decision on what he was living for. In his book, Bob Buford recounts being challenged with a similar question. The question he was asked is, “What’s in your box?” This box could contain the one thing, and only one thing, that at its core would define what his life would stand for.
Buford was a very successful businessman and could easily have chosen from a long list of goals and accomplishments to put into this box that would define his life. What did he choose? Jesus! Jesus was the one thing in Buford’s life that rose above all others. Jesus was a nonnegotiable aspect of his life that was more important to him than anything else.
What are you living for? There are multiple ways we could ask you this question. The particular phrasing of the question isn’t important—but your answer is! Take as much time as you need to fully consider this question and the real implications it has for living a life focused on those things that matter most to you. It is that important. Your response just might surprise you.
Stay tuned for our next post when we will cover the final leg of this four-legged stool.
Blessings on your continuing journey,
Bob and Susan Karcher