A few months ago during the homily at mass, our parish priest read an excerpt about “living a life that matters.” The words of the excerpt really hit me and his homily is something I have continued to reflect on since then. I wanted to share the excerpt he read:
“Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasures or baubles, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won’t matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
So what will matter? How will the value of your days be measured? …
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned but what you taught.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many people will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone.
What will matter are not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, and by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident.
It’s not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.”
-By Michael Josephson
There is nothing so humbling as reflecting on everything one day fading away. It’s sobering to think of life beyond our present lives and that the world will still go on without us, but I think it’s essential to keep us grounded about what our purpose is. It helps us find perspective in a chaotic world. There are many times when I don’t want to be reflective of my life. Questions like, “How am I giving of myself? What am I valuing? How much of the temporary stuff consumes me?” are not always at the top of my list to want to delve deeper into. Sometimes it’s because I’m tired or busy, but I am sure there are times when I just don’t want to admit that there are days when I have allowed myself to become too preoccupied with a lot of stuff, that really isn’t that big of a deal in the scheme of eternity.
It is a difficult balance to be living in this world and still trying to prepare ourselves for the next. There are things we need to do here and invest ourselves in, and yet at the same time, we can’t lose our perspective of what lies beyond. Some days I get too overwhelmed by the temporary things; like saving for my home or retirement. The thought of these things overwhelms me at times and can feel so burdensome, but then I try to balance it with remembering that my peace has to be found in Jesus because retirement or “growing old” isn’t promised.
When I start to lose perspective of the big picture, I feel like Jesus has to gently remind me that 1) everything is in His hands and 2) all that I am trying to accumulate will one day fade away. There is nothing wrong with working, saving, and building a beautiful life for ourselves. We live in the world and these things matter in order to take care of ourselves and our family, but they shouldn’t matter more than the eternal things. Like, “Am I investing in my relationship with God and others? Am I leaving a positive mark on people’s hearts? Am I being the face of Christ to those in my life?” If we are too focused on bills and money and work and chasing after our own dreams, that we are failing to see the people in front of us, or failing to prioritize our relationship with Jesus, then we need to ask Jesus to re-orient our lives. We need to ask Him for the grace to let Him be the King of our hearts and truly reign there.
All that we save for, plan for, and work towards, one day won’t really matter all that much, if they are not things that are building up the Kingdom of God. What matters is the times we worship Jesus, serve our neighbor, love our families, invest in our vocations, and give back to the Church. The moments we choose to surrender our own will to God’s. All the quiet times we live out the corporal works of mercy in our everyday life. These things will matter when the rest of the stuff fades away one day.
We are so blessed to have so many examples from the Saints on what “living a life that matters” looks like. Their witness of service, surrender, love, faithfulness, and being devoted to the everyday, mundane moments wherein they found God. They are our guide of how we can measure what matters. As Thanksgiving approaches and we take inventory of the many blessings God has bestowed upon us, let us remember the things in life that are worth investing in. Let us thank God for each day we have to continue building a life that matters.
This song really moved me when I heard it the other day. The lyrics are a powerful reminder that nothing is better than the love of God. Hope you enjoy 🙂
2019 Drewe DeJesus
Photo by Andre Benz from Freely Photos