Maybe it is my age but I am concerned that the world end up being a better place for others due to the fact that I have been on the planet for a certain number of years. I don’t want to be known as a consumer – I want to be a contributor. I don’t want to live my life and then die having not made some contribution to the planet and those who live on it.
Some of this, I am sure, is the switch that happens for men when they reach their late forties or early fifties. No, not a mid-life crisis. I decided many years ago that I was too busy to have a mid-life crisis. Instead, I think I caused others a great deal of suffering as I went through a mid-life shuffle. I shuffled some values and changed some priorities, shuffled some activities and stopped doing a great number of things so I could focus on doing a select few things well. I even dropped some relationships with people who were turning out to be VDPs (Very Draining People) and picked up a select few new relationships with people wo appreciated me and added value to my life.
We need to make sure that the world has been a better place for us having been here. That we have contributed and added value to the planet. I’m not talking carbon footprints here. I’m talking about helping others, adding value to others and in their particular circumstances, blessing others because God has blessed you, using who you are to help others be better.
The most common approach – for believers and non-believers – is to look for a need and meet it. A long-time mentor of mine use to tell me that. “You can never go wrong if you find a need and meet it.” Sounds good. But, I’m not sure I believe it any more.
I’m not sure where I read it but I wrote this quote down a few months back…
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” Howard Thruman
Now, that makes sense. God has created me a certain way. He has wired me with certain talents and abilities; likes and dislikes. He has graced me with certain natural, spiritual, and supernatural gifts. So, I need to find out what makes me tick and pushes my buttons – ‘floats my boat’ as a friend of mine says – and then focus on that.
When I am functioning in my “come alive zone” then I can touch other people’s lives for good. When I am functioning in my strengths and focused on what I like to do and can do well – it is beneficial to be around me as I add something to others when I am in that personal “come alive zone”. When I am using my gifts and talents – expressing the real me – then I don’t take from those around me but add to the life that is around me.
There are too many people who take from and suck life out of others. Christians need to sit down in a quiet place and find out who they are and how God has wired them. Then they need to make a quality decision to focus on these strengths – these hot buttons – and use them to benefit others. Life is more than making a living and paying the bills or accumulating a fortune to prove you can be successful … It was meant to be lived in a signifigant way so that others will be glad that you passed by their way and inhabited the planet for a short period of time. This is more than writing checks and giving money to worthy causes – it is personal, hands-on involvement in the lives of other people wherever the Lord may take you.
I like what George Eliot said:
“It is never too late to be what you might have been.”