There is a Middle Eastern saying that reads, "On the day that you were born, you cried and the world rejoiced. May you live your life in such a way that when you die, the world will cry and you will rejoice." Don't you just love those kinds of quotes? There are a lot of good thoughts wrapped up in those two sentences but I want to focus on one word for the moment..."may." The phrase begins "May you live..." The implication there is that you may BUT that you may not. Some people get life right and the world is saddened by their departure. That person has touched lives in such a way that there is no doubt about the void they will leave because of their absence.
Some people don't.
Why is that? Why is it that some people hit life so dead on that the their whole sphere of influence is shakened by the loss of their life? While others take note of the loss but must admit that their parting would only be a "hiccup" to those who are left behind? Now, there are varying degrees of impact. The good neighbor who lived by you for years and shared life with you might be sorely missed by your family when they are gone. A teacher's life might have ripple affects that reach to her students, their families, their kids and the other faculty. A missionary might touch a whole tribe and a public figure might touch a whole nation. But for those who get it right, it must come down to a few significant choices they make in their lives. So...I've pondered that this morning. Can I name 3 or 4 choices that take ordinary lives and make them into extraordinary life-changers? Here's what I've come up with. I'd love to hear some of yours:
1. Life is not about them. For most, life is about their goals. For a select few, it's about the God who they serve and who, in turn, asks them to put others first.
2. Simple life. They do not allow their hearts and minds to be cluttered by the insignificant things that can distract us from real purpose.
3. Knowing their purpose. I see so many (all ages) who wonder aimlessly looking for some purpose, some crusade, some "agenda" for their lives. They are so busy searching, they miss life.
4. God confidence (as opposed to self-confidence). I know myself too well (and I suspect that you can say the same) to place my confidence for all of my life in my ability to do anything. On the other hand, the knowledge that God will "supply all my needs according to His riches", that He has promised "never to leave me," those are the things that can make me ready to devoid my life of me and invest in others.
5. Peace. This is not the absence of conflict. No such life has ever existed. It is the firm belief that, no matter the size or source of that conflict, the One who is in us is greater than anything.
Just a few...there may be more. I'd love to hear your thoughts. Maybe you'd like to add one or two yourself. Or maybe you'd simply like to thank the ones who modeled these attributes for you--the parent, the friend, the neighbor, the teacher--who made your life better. "May you live your life in such a way..."