Is life meant to be enjoyed or endured?
More often than not we endure life with all its pressures and demands. With a fluctuating and uncertain economic future, many of us face job losses or cutbacks. We live paycheck to paycheck and only hope to make it through each week without any unexpected glitches in our lives. What are we to make of this life? How many of you really possess the abundant life that Jesus promises to give? He did say that He came to give us life, and to have life more abundantly (John 10:10). How are we to interpret this passage when the other shoe drops? How are we to enjoy life when it seems that most of our time is spent paying bills or mending relationships. Maybe the answer is defined in how we understand the meaning of life.
Too many of us think life is wrapped up in our wealth, our identity, our reputation, our possessions, our relationships, or our jobs. If you ever believe that life is defined by these things, take a long look at Ecclesiastes. King Solomon, the wisest and richest man ever, lived his life accumulating possessions, wealth, power, and relationships only to come to the end of his life and say, "Vanity of vanities! All is vanity" (Ecclesiastes 1:2). He even said, "So I hated life?" (Ecclesiastes 2:17).
I read a story about a man who went to visit a farmer. When he arrived at the farmer's home, he noticed a number of targets on the side of his barn. When the man walked up to the side of the barn to examine the targets, he noticed that there was a hole in the center of every bulls-eye. The man thought, "This famer is an excellent marksman." The man asked the farmer about the targets and complimented his marksmanship. The farmer replied, "I'm really not that good." The man was puzzled by the farmer's response until the farmer explained that he shoots the hole first then draws a bulls-eye around the hole.
Isn't this exactly what we do in our lives? We shoot for wealth and then draw the meaning of life around it. We shoot for education and draw the meaning of life around it. We shoot for intimate relationships with others then draw the meaning of life around it. You need to remember that there is nothing wrong with having money, possessions, education, or relationships, but if that is your bulls-eye, then you are aiming at the wrong target.
While these things may bring temporary fulfillment, eventually they will not satisfy the deepest part of your soul. They are only shadows pointing you to the real meaning of life: a relationship with Jesus Christ. In John 17:3, the very last night Jesus was on the earth, He prayed, "This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent." Abundant life is life in Jesus Christ.
If you want to enjoy life and enjoy it more abundantly, pursue Jesus Christ more than anything else. Make your number one priority to know more about God everyday of your life. This abundant life begins with having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ by admitting your sins, believing that He died on the cross for your sins, and asking Him to be your Savior.
Afterwards, spend your entire life getting to know your great and wonderful God. Spend time reading His Word and communicating with Him. As you get to know Him more and more, you will not be disturbed or distracted by the things of this world, because you will know that there is a greater source of wealth, a greater source of possession, a greater source of relationship, and a greater source of security found in Jesus Christ. Listen to Peter's exhortation: "Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence" (2 Peter 1:2-3).
Donald Kirby is the pastor at North Hills Baptist Church in Marietta. Thoughts of Faith is a weekly column written by various ministers and lay people. =Those interested in scheduling a date for writing a Thoughts of Faith column should contact Claire Heiby at 376-5446 or firstname.lastname@example.org.