It’s August 15th today and it’s my dad’s birthday… He would have been 49 today. He passed on nine years ago when he was just 40 and I was just 17. I miss him a great deal sometimes and especially on his birthdays and sometimes I just wonder if he really lived a purposeful life when he was alive even though he rose through the ranks in his career.
I know death is not something we like to think about, but it’s something that will certainly happen to all of us, the only thing we are not certain of is WHEN it will happen.
One major question I ask myself often is this- If I had only one week to live, what decisions or steps would I take? What would I do differently? This really helps me put a lot of things in perspective and drives me to want to live a life of purpose every single day that I’m alive.
There’s this quote I love by Myles Monroe (who’s interestingly also late, but lived a life of purpose): “The greatest tragedy in life is not death, but a life without a purpose.” Indeed it would be a great tragedy to live a life without purpose.
I was studying the book of Esther the other day and I got a new perspective from Esther’s story. In Esther chapter 4, Haman issued a decree to kill all the Jews in the province and this really troubled Mordecai; He sent a message to Esther in the Bible and her first response was she could not go to see the king at that time.
I love Mordecai’s response in Esther 4:13-14 and I have broken it into 4 parts-
1. Don’t think that just because you live in the King’s house you’re the one Jew who will get out of this alive…
2. If you persist in staying silent at a time like this, help and deliverance will arrive for the Jews from someplace else;
3. But you and your family will be wiped out
4. Who knows maybe you were made queen for such a time as this!
Let me explain this as it relates to our times-
Let’s take a look at item 1. A lot of us think that because we come from wealthy homes or because we can at least afford to eat three meals daily, we are not going to be affected by the numerous problems in the world.We just live life passively… go to school, go for masters, get a job, get married, have kids, make money…The end! But there’s so much more to life than that.
No. 2 says- ‘‘if you persist in staying silent…’’ Silence is a form of complacency. If you’re complacent about finding and fulfilling your calling, God is certainly going to replace you with someone else. I know this first hand. Back in school, I had this idea to do a devotional for youths that will be fun and very relatable using pictures. I actually started working on it, but along the line, my laptop crashed and I lost all my documents so I just gave up on the idea. By the following semester, another student published a devotional and it was EXACTLY the same idea I had. I could not believe it. So you see, God doesn’t waste time on finding someone else to fulfill ‘‘your’’ purpose.
No. 3: ‘‘You and your family will be wiped out.’’ Certainly if you don’t find and fulfil your purpose in life, nobody is going to remember you after you’re gone because you wouldn’t have made any impact worth remembering.
Finally No.4, ‘‘who knows, just maybe you’re in that family or in that city or in that organisation or in that nation for such a time as this.’’ There’s a particular reason you are where you are at every point in time. You may not be where you want to be but I bet that if you look deep you will find the purpose for which God has placed you in that place. There is a problem, an abnormality you have been created to correct. Take it or leave.
Just imagine if Esther had not gone to speak with the king and saved the Jews; we would not be talking about her today.
So if you knew you had just one week to live, would you live it on purpose? Death is not the greatest tragedy in life; a life without purpose is.