I woke up this morning feeling slightly dissatisfied with life.
Do you ever get those rare moments when suddenly something clicks and you think “THIS is what life is really about”? I do. But they’re followed shortly after by more meaningless things that just distract me, and then I soon forget what it was that resonated with me for that brief moment and I carry on as I was.
I had one of those moments last Sunday. I was sitting around after church talking to some friends, getting updates about life; their struggles, things that were real to them – things that actually mattered. It was one of those moments where you potentially realise that the things that consume your mind and your own small little world are really not that important. It got me thinking. Again. I resolved to go home and get my priorities in order. But then I got home, switched on the Mac, logged into Facebook, phoned someone, got on with life and forgot all about it.
I keep missing the point.
It’s that same moment I get when I’m travelling in certain places and I come across people who just astound me. People who seem to live out the life I profess to lead. Like the woman in a slum in India who lives in a small shack with her 4 children, who answered our “what can we do for you?” question with “Nothing. I have Jesus, so I have everything”. And she meant it. I wondered what it would be like to actually say something like that and mean it; to be content.
I meet people all the time who are sold out for their causes – what ever they may be. People who put their money where their mouth is, make choices that actually cost them something simply because it’s the right thing. It can take the simplest forms or it can look pretty radical. Either way, it’s pretty impressive. People who think, speak…and then act accordingly.
It’s widely accepted that how you spend your time and money are the best indication of what is actually important to you. For a Christian, you can probably add prayer into the mix.
You want to know what my priorities are? Look at how I spend my time.
You want to know what I really care about? Look at what I spend my money on.
You want to know where my heart is at? Listen to what I pray about – and I don’t mean those lightly uttered prayers that we think we’re supposed to pray, but those things that we really cry out to God for, with some form of passion and urgency.
I guess I’ve just been wondering what those three things show that I care about.
The more I travel the more I realise how big life is. I think my greatest fear is that I’ll go through life and realise at the end of it that somewhere along the line I missed the point; I forgot what actually mattered and spent myself on behalf of things that pleased me and made me temporarily happy, but in the end were futile.
So what is it that actually matters?
My old church leader Luke used to say that the bible could be summed up in five words: Love God and love others. For me, you touch the core of life when you interact with others and engage in their worlds.
That is what we shouldn’t lose track of. This is what I don’t want to lose track of.
When my world becomes about me it shrinks, when it becomes about others it grows.
I love action and I hate complacency. So it suited me well when George Carey reminded us this morning that if we are willing to live in community with others we will never become complacent, because even when we’re doing ok and feeling comfortable we will still share in other people’s struggles and therefore always have the taste of dissatisfaction in our mouth, because life isn’t as it should be.
So, I guess tomorrow morning I’ll still wake up feeling dissatisfied with life. Because people are hungry, because friends are hurting, because evil still triumphs over good…and that sense of dissatisfaction will be what reminds me not to miss what matters, but to engage in it….because life isn’t yet as it should be.