BY RUTH EKONG
So I realized that all we can do is to be happy and do the best we can while we are still alive. All of us should eat and drink and enjoy what we have worked for. It is God’s gift.
Every day on my morning commute to work - usually on a packed train of some energized, tense & stony faced passengers chugging into the bustling city of London, I often drift into thought as to what it means to actually ‘live’.
Is there a definition?
Are there key things that make someone feel they are ‘living’?
If so, which of them am I driven by?
In Rick Warren’s bestseller, ‘A Purpose Driven Life’, he talks about the common “drivers” of a person’s life as they seek the meaning to it all, he then goes on to present 5 examples of these drivers - such as, materialism, approval, guilt, anger and fear and how these factors guide, control and direct our lives!
I can personally identify with this idea of drivers, as growing up I always dreamed of being a ‘top notch’ lawyer who worked in the city. I would fight for the justice and humanity of others wearing tailored suits matched with fabulous designer shoes! Louboutin’s perhaps ,...be married with 2.5 kids and simultaneously make my Nigerian parents proud. ( I watched a lot of TV then and had it all played out in my mind – think The Good Wife or Suits!). You guessed it, my life drivers were success, approval and let’s be honest – a little bit of materialism!
In the Bible, a great example of these drivers is in King Solomon's sayings and poems in Ecclesiastes. The life of the writer, the King as described in the book is for the most part, what I would call – a movie! This means a life filled with all the common earthly “desirables” – unfathomable wealth, power, reputation, love, and family - anything he wanted, he had! Despite this, often time in Ecclesiastes, Solomon writes about how unfulfilling such a life was. How thought-provoking is that?
The verses in Ecclesiastes 3:12-13 however, summarize life from a different perspective, ending with a key line. It is God’s gift.
That’s it – the REAL driving force for our lives! Whatever we do - eating, drinking, working, pleasing, enjoying and being happy, everything should stem from the fact that our lives are a gift from God.
Here are three points that can help us keep this in mind.
God does not always promise or grant us our “desirables” – this is a lesson that I have learned over time in my own personal faith journey, these 'desirables' may not always be good for us or sometimes we are not ready to receive them! Some of the things I desired I have, some I don't and some I will have one day soon! In these times, I have grown to trust God more and to know that He knows what is best for me. Still, whatever the outcome - in everything we do or have on this earth we should be reminded FIRST that our lives are a gift. Therefore, there should always be a sense of thankfulness to Him for this with or without - and knowledge that God loves us all the same. 1 Thessalonians 5:18
“Desirables” do not satisfy.
King Solomon in Ecclesiastes ‘had it all’. Yet, often times within the book of Ecclesiastes, he concludes – “all is vanity and a chasing of the wind…” This is such a deep statement! Moreover, it shows that 'having' does not lead to fulfillment, it cannot be our source of joy, and neither can relationships, wealth, the approval or high esteem of others .They can never make us whole, only Christ can do this. John 10:10
If you lost everything you had today, would you become a different person? I often ask myself this question, to help me understand where my faith truly lies. Here, I am reminded of the parable of the rich man, and how he so longed to follow Christ but when realizing it would cost him all he ‘had’, he went away sad because he felt that he had too much to lose!
Naturally, it is not an easy thing to think about losing everything you have as there is lot of sentimental and financial value that we place on the things we own and the people we love! However, these cannot be of more value to us than our relationship with God. As a result, it is good to always exercise balance and a healthy attitude to the things we have. Remember - there is no greater gain or value than to know God, especially as he gave us this very life that we have! Matthew 19:16 -22
So finally, to the one who has it all, or nothing at all. Life itself is a gift from God. Enjoy it! :-)
Thoughts to Consider
Lord, help me to remember that the gift of life and all I have comes from you, therefore whatever I have or do not have, you still love me the same. Help me to place my life value in knowing and loving you first, and to trust you with the desires of my heart. Amen.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ruth is a London based Contract Specialist, co-founder of Rhema Arts and creative writer.
You can find her on Twitter at @justruthy_