Is your life worth anything?
Andy Stanley tells the story of his niece, Elena I think her name was. When she was five her mother looked for an activity that her daughter could channel her energy into.
The girl had a long body that seemed to be made for swimming. So her mother enrolled her in a swim club. For four years they went to swim meets.
The little one loved meeting other kids and she seemed to like to swim. But when it came time to race, she always finished last.
Finally at the beginning of a new year with the club, mama was driving Elena to a competition.
“Elena, you should try to win the race today,” she urged her daughter.
“Race?” her nine-year old daughter asked, surprised. “You mean it’s a race! I thought we went to ‘meet’ people.”
All these years the girl had gone to swim “meetings” with the idea that the goal was to “meet” people. That day she realized that it was a competition. Her outlook changed and she won the race. And she won at the next meeting and the next.
As a matter of fact, she was the only one in her swim club who progressed to the next level.
Her world changed when her way of seeing changed.
It’s a Race Sweetheart
Let me ask you a question. What’s life all about? Why are you living? How do you see it?
How you see helps determine how you live.
Is your reason for breathing making enough money to be comfortable and to take it easy? To do what you want? Lots of people think so.
Maybe it’s about your family and friends. Not bad, that.
Or you might be trying to cram as much passionate fun as you can into however many years you’ve got.
If God doesn’t exist and there is no accounting of how we spent this incredibly valuable life he gave us to manage, no problem. “Eat, drink and be happy. We’re gonna die one day. You only go around once so grab for all the gusto you can get.”
That’s the ‘gospel’ of the beer commercial.
But what if we had a mission to accomplish on earth and our mission was more valuable than our life? Paul believed that.
“But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.” (Acts 20:24, NKJV)
Paul even thought that God was going to ask how we carried out the mission he gave us and question us as to what we did with the incredible gift of life.
“Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.” (1 Cor. 3:12-15, NLV)
A “race.” A “work.” Paul certainly didn’t see his mission in life like someone who wanted to spend his time tiptoeing through the tulips. He felt God put him on earth for an important reason, an eternal reason. He wasn’t an accident or a simply a product of his parent’s passion. God planned his conception and his life.
The same is true for you and me. How do you see your life?
“It is our aim, therefore, to please him, whether we are “at home” or “away”. For every one of us will have to stand without pretence before Christ our judge, and we shall be rewarded for what we did when we lived in our bodies, whether it was good or bad.” 2 Cor. 5:10, JB Phillips)
“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” – Henry David Thoreau