What does it mean to have a life well lived?
What does the culture say? Well, there is the currently popular idea of being true to ourselves, even when that necessitates selfishness. Financial or business success would be high on the list. In a day when celebrity no longer requires doing anything positive, popularity might be rated the #1 factor in leaving such a legacy after death.
What does the church value? Even there we find similar sentiments when we actually access what happens in reality, not in a sermon. Big-name Christian celebrities are born by leading mega-churches or finding large audiences online. The bigger the ministry or the more followers, the greater the acclaim. (And God graciously does raise up leaders, but he is more interested in their hearts than the number of their fans.) Well-known Christians are deemed more important to the task of spreading the gospel. Those with money are more valued when it’s time for a building campaign.
God isn’t impressed with size, money, power, or popularity. As he told Samuel, “The LORD sees not as man sees; man looks on the outward appearance, but the LORD looks on the heart” (1 Samuel 16:7).
So if money, power, popularity, and success could be don’t necessarily involve a life well lived, what does?
I would say that greatest quality in a life well lived is faithfulness. Although the word itself may not be said at the memorial service, the quality is evident through the stories told by pastor, family, and friends.
Faithfulness to God, with their spouses, toward their children and friends, and in giving unselfishly day by day to those around them indicates a life well lived. Faithfulness is true faith in God lived out. When we serve him rather than ourselves, we see the big picture of life more easily.
Faithfulness involves the long-term—not giving up on serving God, loving people, and making the small world we live in a better place because of our presence. The faithful don’t retire from love, but they give and give as long as their bodies give them strength or their mouths give them voice.
You may be young and avoid thinking about the long-term, but it’s time.
You may be my age and think it’s too late, but start today. Renew your promises and keep them as long as you live. God is gracious and longs for you to change.
I pray that God will give me the grace to stay faithful to Jesus Christ and to those around me in all the paths where he takes me for the rest of my life.