Tuesday, December 30, 2003

A LIFE WELL LIVED

Recently I got to speak on this topic (from John 10:10b) first to our student ministry and then to our entire church. One of the things that I did in preparation for that message was send out an email to several different people, some Christian some not. Some older some not. The email asked the people How they would define A Life Well Lived. I found these very interesting and shared some in my message. I thought I would post some of the responses here. I have kept them anonymous execept to tell you a gender and age. So here goes:

"I would define a life well lived as a life that has been pleasing to God. A life where you have done the best you could considering your circumstances and when people remember you, they smile and miss you.
Female approximately 55 - Christian

"A life well lived is a life with few regrets concerning your walk with God, with family, friends, and neighbors. Songs like Cat's in the Cradle by Cat Stevens; Hurt by Johnny Cash, The Way of Wisdom by Michael Card capture what I mean."
Female approximately 50 - Christian

"A life well lived is to have a job you enjoy and to be happily married
to your one true love. These are the things that come to my mind at this
time in my life."

Male 15 - Christian

"To me, a life well lived is a life with many friends, who not only are in to the things you like to do, but also believe in the same things you do. I think a life lived for God is definitly key, spending time in the word, worshiping at church, and to others. Having a great family who has the same belief and support system that the person has. I think those are the key things to a life well lived. Oh, they have to be big Red Sox fans, too (hee, Hee.) "
Male 18 - Christian

"The right answer is a life dedicated to serving God and his will from a
Christian stand point."

Male 17 - Christian

"A life well lived to me would be one of triumphs and tragedy. One where you have had the experience of knowing God in many ways and experiencing His love in many ways.A life of knowing how to trust God in all things even if you don't understand. A Christ-centered life full of memories of how Christ made a difference in even the everyday situation. A life that when you leave this life, people remember how much you loved Christ. "
Female 39 - Christian

"I would define a life well lived as one that mimics the life of Christ.
So that no matter what God has called you to do, from mission work to
shelf stocking in a store, it is done to God's glory, to the best of
yourability, with an attitude of doing it as unto the Lord. If this is the
overall attitude of your life I would consider it a life well lived."

Female 29 - Christian

"A LIFE WELL LIVED: I CHECKED OUT THE WEB, WOW!! SO MANY HAVE ADDRESSED THIS QUESTION. HOWEVER, I ALSO CHECKED OUT THE WONDERFUL WORD OF GOD. THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID, "FOR ME TO LIVE IS CHRIST, AND TO DIE IS GAIN." HE DID BOTH FOR THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. JESUS SAID TO HIS FATHER JUST BEFORE HE WENT TO THE CROSS IN THE GARDEN OF GETHSEMANE, "NOT MY WILL, BUT YOURS BE DONE."THE APOSTLE PAUL SAID AGAIN IN 2 TIM 4:6-8 "....FOR THE TIME OF MY DEPARTURE IS AT HAND. I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT, I HAVE FINISHED MY COURSE, I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH...." DR. BILLY GRAHAM TOLD DAVID FROST IN AN INTERVIEW, WHEN ASKED, WHAT DO YOU THINK GOD WILL SAY TO YOU WHEN YOU STAND BEFORE HIM? DR. GRAHAM ANSWERED, I HOPE HE WILL SAY, "WELL DONE, GOOD AND FAITHFUL SERVANT." SO I GUESS IT'S MY TURN, FRIEND. A LIFE WELL LIVED IS ONE THAT HAS FOLLOWED THE CALL OF GOD TO SERVE JESUS CHRIST, AND BY THE GRACE OF GOD, "DOES THE BEST HE CAN WITH WHAT HE HAS TO WORK WITH UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES." I KNOW, TYPICAL FOR AN OLD PASTOR.
Male - Approximately 65 - Retired Christian Pastor

"I think a life well-lived has a lot to do with how you affect other
people. When your life is over, how many people will be able to say
that you had a positive affect on their lives? I think we are put on this
earth not only to glorify God, but also to minister to each other.
Living a good life revolves around living a Godly life, which naturally
leads to serving others. A life well-lived would be one that included
being a positive witness to unbelievers, nurturing other believers,
being nurtured by other believers, and trying to help meet the needs of
the people around you."

Female 31 - Christian

-to have worshiped God often and sincerely
-to have a friendship that has stood the test of time and adversity
-to have laughed often and much
-to have marveled in the beauty of the "ordinary" things in our world
-to have felt the unconditional love of a child
-to have known the tender and heated embrace of a lover
-to have earned the appreciation of trustworthy and honest critics
-to have helped someone by something you've said, taught, given or prayed
-to have known a moment of hapiness that words can't truly express
-to have turned a closed door into an open window
-to have cried, sighed, grieved or longed and found comfort
-to have been used as a tool for a small or big work in God's service
-to have moved beyond defining MY life and how well it has been lived to helping someone else live theirs and live it well.

Material things like houses, cars, great jobs, big tvs, etc... are cool, but with or without them it is RELATIONSHIPS that define a well lived life. A relationship with Jesus, with a parent, a friend, an offspring, a spouse. Big TVs will break, houses will fall down, jobs will end. Your effect on someone else's life will not only effect them, but people that they know and the people that they know and so on. Your relationships tell WHO you were and WHAT you stood for for generations. Your relationships define not only your life on earth, but in heaven as well. Know God? No God?"

Female 30 - Christian

"A life well lived is one that is committed to God in ALL that I do."
Male 34 - Christian

"A life well lived can be defined many ways based on people's
perspectives (mainly the reason why you are asking a number of
different people!). Some put all of their store in material goods,
but we know that this is not fullfilling or God's definition of a
life well lived (Matt 6:20).
Other folks see that living life with a positive outlook and doing
good deeds to their fellow man is fullfilling. It makes them all
warm and fuzzy inside and someone else benefits. What could be
wrong? However, there is still an element of selfishness here,
although somewhat buried. Folks are doing this for the purpose of
fullfilling themselves. Their motive is really all about them
feeling good. Does the end justify the means?
Which brings me to my point. In order to honestly and trully live a
fullfilled and worthfull life, we must get rid of this selfish
behavior. The only way to do that is through admitting that we are
nothing in the presence of God. He is the only thing that matters.
When there is less of us, there is more of Him. It is when we become
humble, meek and holy as a result of his action in our lives that we
are fulfilled. (Mark 8:35)
Of course, this may mean that you aren't serving other people all the
time in what they consider good ways (as mentioned in the second
paragraph). But as long as we are constantly striving for that holy
presence of God, all things will work together for good (Romans
8:28). It's really not about us, it's about HIM.
I want to note that I didn't merely write this because it could be
the expected answer to give to a youth pastor, but that I would
actually give this answer to anyone, Christian or non."

Female 23 - Christian

"I would feel that I had a life well lived if I was able to have a
positive effect on people. That when they looked at me - whether in word or
action - they saw Jesus Christ in me. I want to be able to love other people in
the same way that Christ loves me. That is what makes me happy and content
with my life."

Female approximately 45 - Christian

"A life that pleased God. i dunno other than that."
Male 15 - Christian

"A life well lived is one that you can look back on and
realize that you have done what God has called you to do."

Female approximately 40 - Christian

"My Idea of a Life well lived is:
A life lived for the Glory of God. life fully devoted to the work of our Lord.
When Im gone from this world I dont want people to look back and think
wow he had alot of Money and all these fancy things.
I just want to be known as someone who Loved his friends,his family,His God and His country. All of the other things in life are just that "things".
None of that matters in the sceme of things. A life well lived to me would beto find an amazing wife have some children raise them in a Godly manner, send them off into the world with a strong christian faith and live the rest of my life with my wife serving God. I know that to alot of people that seems boring and pointless but to me it's my idea of a perfect life. Thats my perspective.hope it makes sense
Male 15 - Christian


"A life well-lived constantly puts others first for the sole reason of
gratitude for Christ's death on the cross for our salvation. This is
the only source of true happiness and holiness."
Male 33 - Christian


"A life well lived is one in which a person looks to God for their daily
inspiration to try and do something worthwhile in this society that
mandates us to be politically correct whether that means actually giving that
person what they need physically, mentally,or spiritually. It is our
responsibility to get past the nonsense and get to the heart of what
people need."

Female 35 - Christian

"How would I define a life well lived...that's a tough one. :) Hmmm. I
don't really want to dig deep into the question and come out with an answer
for you that really has nothing to do with the question at all(I tend to do
that with some things that I write). So here it goes, and I'll try to keep
it short and sweet! A life well lived to me would be a life in which I
stayed true to myself. "To thine own self be true" -William Shakespeare.
Staying true to oneself is different for everyone becuase everyone has
different values and things that are important to them individually. But it is
important to do so because I dont think very many people would want to
look back on their life when they are 90 years old and realize that their
whole life was lived by a friend's idea of how it should be lived. Also, it
is important to keep God in your life. I know that it is difficult at
times, there are times where i really struggle to stay in touch with Him, but
we all need to. Jesus loves us no matter what, all the time, day and
night. Why shouldn't we love HIM back no matter what, all the time, day and
night? This goes back to staying true to yourself. There are plenty of times
that you will be questioned of your faith. There are many times you will be
questioned about all kinds of different things that you choose to do or
not to do. However, you must "Stand up for what you believe is right, even
if you are standing alone." (Yet another quote, but i don't know who that
one is by...oops!!) If you just stand up for all the things in your life
that you believe in and all your values and things that are important to
you, then you will live a life that is only yours. You will live the life that you want for yourself and you will have had a life well lived."

Female 18 - New Christian

"So, as I think about this, I keep looking over to a copy of the poem
"Anyway" that hangs by my desk. I guess that's my answer..."

People are often unreasonable, illogical,
and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, People may accuse you
of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some
false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank,
people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone
could destroy overnight.
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness,
they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today,
people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have,
and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis,
it is between you and God;

Female 35 - Not a Christian

"A life well lived has more to do with the process than it does with the
visible results. To me, a life well lived is a matter of being faithful. It means being
faithful to do all in your power to complete your mission. Of course,
one has to figure out what that is early on. I think Ecclesiastes 12:13
sums it up about as well as one Bible verse can. It says: "Now all has been
heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his
commandments, for this is the whole duty of man."

Male 56 - Christian

"A life lived to the glory of God. "
Female 20 - Christian

"A life well liveed is a life which loved and was loved in return. Gave all they had for the lord for in him all things come together and are complete."
Female 15 - Christian

"Having fun."
Male - 20 - Christian

"Good question. I think that it is perhaps most
important to understand what is NOT a life well-lived.
1) It's not who dies with the most toys.
2) It is not about being happy.
3) It is not about who has the biggest bank account.

My grandmother lived her life well. She was not
perfect but was deeply grounded in her faith. She
read her Bible daily but kept it private (an
interesting source of pain for my semi-agnostic
grandfather after she died). She had an 8th grade
education but infinite wisdom. She kept herself
apprised of current events and thought about how they
affected her and how she affected them. She always
thought of others and made countless meals and hosted
friends and relatives at her table. She was a humble
woman and never spoke badly about anyone, not even
Suddam Hussein during the first Gulf War. She owned
no computer and yet could clearly organize and recall
each person's likes and dislikes and make sure that
she served their favorite foods.

Will she be remembered? Only by those whom she loved
and who loved her. Did she leave a financial legacy
behind. Less than $40,000 but an amazing amount for a
woman who never worked outside the home. She
understood economy and environmental issues. She used
things until they wore out and found uses for things
others discarded. She quietly lived out her faith.
She bore many sorrows and shared many others. I only
wish that when I die, I have had a life so well-lived."

Female 38- Christian

"How would i define a well lived life? The answer to that is quite simple and short. A well lived life is doing whatever God has called you to do and doing it with your best ability. The world's definition would probably be more like, having a family, a good job, and a nice home. That stuff is all good, but only if that is how God wants your life to be. If you do what He wants you to do and do it with all you've got, then when you get to heaven God will say, "Well done my child." That is my definition of a well lived life, and is exactly what i want God to tell me when I get to heaven."
Female 13 - Christian

"A life that when someone talks at your funeral, all they can talk about is your love and service to God! Their values passed down to other people they know
like their children."

Female 26 - Christian

"I would define a life well lived as one that is lived first of all for
the Lord. Secondly, a life that is loving and giving toward others. Over
the course of eternity it will not matter how many miles we have traveled
or whether we have managed to attain great riches here on this earth. The
things that will really matter are those things we have done for others
and the love and consideration we have shown for others. To love deeply
and give generously of time and talents are the true marks of a life well
lived! Real JOY is to put Jesus first, Others second and Yourself last!"

Female Approximately 55 - Christian

"I think a life well lived is when someone lives there life for God in the fullest and to His glory!"
Female 15 - Christian

"A life where you have given back to the world around you, having helped peole through difficult cirsumsatnces or encouraged a friend during a hard time or taken the time to listen to ones heartaches or grief..and above all to have lived a life as honoring to the Lord."
Female approximately 55 - Christian

"That as a vessel of God, I would be completely emptied out and there
wouldn't be a drop of what He wanted to pour out through me that was
wasted."

Male 42 - Christian

"A life is well lived when you or people around you can look at the things you've done and the things you stood for and say "now that was someone who really loved God...becuase of their faith they have been a great example to others" Thats what i think it means."
Female 17 - Christian

"Putting others above yourself."
Female 36 - Not a Christian

What do you think? Email me and let me know!

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