Living the compassion of Jesus

How To Live A Life Of (Real) Meaning

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If through one man’s life there is a little more love and kindness, a little more light and truth in the world, then he will not have lived in vain.
— Alfred Delp

We all desire to live a life of meaning right? A life which makes a difference and impacts the world. We want to know that the life we live leaves the earth a better place than when we were born.

The important piece, though, is how we describe "meaning", "difference", "impact", and "better".

Because, let's be honest, there is some mixed messaging on this. 

The world defines a life of meaning as a life of power, prestige, and profit. In order to be remembered and admired we must do great things, buy great things, and achieve great things. This is communicated through advertisements, award shows, named buildings, magazine covers, and social media. 

YOU must be great in order to have meaning. 

And yet Jesus calls us to a different type of life. 

Where the world says meaning comes from seats of power, Jesus says meaning comes from touching lepers and washing feet. Where the world says meaning comes from prestige, Jesus says be like a child and lift others to the front. Where the world says meaning comes from profit, Jesus says sell everything that owns you, give extravagently to the poor, and share what you have with friends who are lacking. 

Rather than making yourself great - make others great. 

It's a Kingdom of obedience that Jesus calls us to - not greatness. 

In fact, Jesus always calls us to obedience, not success. 

Why? Because if we focus on being successful, we will all too often stray away from obeying what He is calling us to do with our lives. 

But if we focus our lives on obedience, than that is a life of "success" - regardless of what we do or do not achieve. 


Jesus' Kingdom is a Kingdom of "The Upside-Down". 

It runs on different rules, confounds the powerful, and is invading life as we know it. (Note: unlike the Upside-Down in the Stranger Things series though - this invasion is one of life, not death.)

When you are tempted to focus on greatness - aim for small actions of deep love.

When you are tempted with greed - be generous to the point of it hurting. 

When you can step on others on your way up the ladder of success - just get off the ladder! 

Let me repeat the quote from Alfred Delp at the start of this post: 

If through one man's life there is a little more love and kindness, a little more light and truth in the world, then he will not have lived in vain.

Do you desire to live a life of meaning? Do you want your work to not be in vain? 

This week, aim to love a little more. Be a little more kind. Shine a little more light. Share a little more truth. 

There is a song that was somewhat popular in the USA Christian market a few years ago with the line, "Little is much when God is in it." I think that applies well here in this discussion. 

God does not need big...more...greater...or more powerful.

More often than not, God uses the small - the least - the humble - those on the margins. 


So you want to live a life of meaning? 

Wonderful! 

Do small things. Be obedient. Live an upside-down life. 

Run to the margins instead of running up the ladders.

Live a life focused on making today better in small ways in obedience to our great God, and you will leave the earth a better place. 

Then you will live a life of meaning.