How do you define a life worth living? What really is most important?
Many people think they have the answer and they run off chasing their dream of ‘the good life’. They chase after riches and comfort. They chase after beauty and fame. They chase after power and achievement. Some find empty promises and failure. Some find success at too great a cost to peace of mind or relationships with others. Some find they had to compromise their integrity, cheat, and hurt others to climb to the top.
Any definition of ‘the good life’ that starts we ‘me, me, me’ is destined to be, at best, a life incomplete. A life left wanting. A life with wasted potential. We need to believe and invest in something bigger than ourselves. We need to cultivate deep meaningful relationships. We need a moral compass, a sense of justice, and a passion to make the world a better place. We need a sense of gratitude and make regular opportunities to be generous.
Maybe you know this. Maybe you’ve developed real answers to these essential life-questions. If so, congratulations! It takes wisdom and lots of trial and error to arrive at an intentional lifestyle that is faith-filled and fulfilling for yourself, connected deeply and lovingly with others, and transformative for the world through generous good works of gratitude. When Paul was mentoring the next generation of church leaders, he gave Timothy this advice:
As for those who in the present age are rich, command them not to be haughty, or to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but rather on God who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for themselves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of the life that really is life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19)
For the next six weeks St Andrew UMC will be reflecting on just such a life. Our faith-life, fully expressed, aligns our lives with Jesus and sets us on a journey of growth and maturity, service and leadership, mission and outreach, and gratitude and generosity.
We are calling this series ‘First-Fruits’ because we are reminded of God’s call on the lives of all people of faith, hope, and love: to GIVE… in gratitude and thanksgiving for the gifts of life and blessing we’ve received from God. GIVE our first and best gifts… not what’s left over of our time, talent, and treasure after we’ve used everything up. GIVE ourselves freely to God as the Creator of the Universe who loves us. GIVE ourselves in love to others, and serving as God’s community on Earth. GIVE ourselves in works of justice and mercy for those in need. GIVE ourselves in generosity of resources to build, maintain, and expand our mission and ministry efforts into the future.
May you take hold of this life that is truly life… today and forever!