Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Moving from success to significance

Somewhere in the middle of our lives, the reality usually sets in that we will not live forever in our mortal bodies. We are all going to die someday. We are going to go the way of all men and women - the grave.

Those of us who follow Christ have our hope in Him. We believe that through faith in his death, burial, and resurrection that one day we will be united with Him in Heaven. Ultimately, our souls and resurrected bodies will be reunited as well. We will live for eternity in our glorified bodies in the presence of Almighty God and our fellow believers. Before we get there, though, we must live out God's mission for us here on earth.

The first half of our lives is spent growing, learning, reproducing, and accumulating. We grow up, move out of our parents home, get an education, land the job, get married, have children, and accumulate wealth. After we get to our 30s and 40s though, we start looking around at everything we have and begin to say, "is this really all there is to life?"

Mid-life crisis begins and a period of discontent settles in. If not worked through properly, you might end up with some expensive vehicles and/or a failed marriage due to extra-marital affairs. The key is to work through your own "holy discontent" in the correct way.

In the book Half Time, Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance, author Bob Buford writes the following about this period of discontent:
While the first half is all about gaining, which sometimes results in loss, the second half is more about releasing and relinquishing, which usually results in strength. You do not see that clearly when you are twenty-six years old (p. 113).

Yet, most agree that success eventually loses its luster and that significance is what we're really after. The secular person generally finds significance in some form of altruism; the Christian simply has a biblical framework to define his altruism (p. 114).

I choose to believe that it is God who speaks quietly inside us - that it is he who put the question deep within. And when we answer yes, he reveals the meaning he has chosen for us to enjoy; he unveils the goal that he has been keeping for us all along. I love how Paul puts it in Ephesians 2:10,

"For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do" (p. 114).
So where are you at in your life? First half? Second half? Are you currently in half-time? Have you moved from success to significance, yet, in your life?

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