There’s an old saying: “If you love your job you’ll never work a day in your life.” That’s not quite true. Most people work hard. But even when they love their job they still have to do things they don’t like to do. They give effort above and beyond what’s comfortable. It’s probably more accurate to say that if you’re doing something you believe in, the hard work you do will bring you deep satisfaction. Novelist Ursula K. Le Guin stated, “It is good to have an end to journey toward, but it is the journey that matters in the end.” Some folks suffer from “destination disease.” They think that arriving at a certain place in the life will bring them happiness. What a shame. Because the reality is that many times when we arrive, we discover that it wasn’t what we expected. If you become fixated on a destination you can miss the great things that happen along the way. You miss the joy of today. If you’re convinced that “someday” is going to be your best day, you won’t put enough into today-or get enough out of it. If you’re not doing something significant with your life, it doesn’t mater how long it is. It’s not enough just to survive you need a reason to live. This is where Christ comes in: He will give you new life, and add purpose to your life-plus the power to fulfill that purpose. D.L. Moody once said, “Let God have your life; He can do more with it than you can.
Optimists tend to believe that life is mostly good; pessimists, that it’s mostly bad. Life is both. And only those who embrace that truth are able to find fulfillment. Why? Because those who accept it but don’t embrace it become apathetic, meeting every difficulty with a shrug and a sigh. They may survive, but they won’t be successful. To succeed you must be proactive, in bad times as well as good. If you examine the lives of successful people you’ll discover they always do what’s right no matter how they feel, and by doing right-they end up feeling good. On the other hand, unsuccessful people wait to feel good before they do what’s right. As a result, they neither do what’s right nor feel good. Often you won’t feel like doing the right thing, but you need to do it anyway. Nelson Mandala said: “I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one finds many more hills to climb. I have taken a moment here to rest, to steal a view of the glorious vista that surrounds me, to look back on the distance I have come. But I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom comes responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended.” If you always do the right thing-despite how you feel, despite what others might say or do in response-you will be satisfied with yourself. And that, at the end of the day, will do a lot to determine whether you feel fulfilled.
Jacques Cousteau, the famous French explorer, said, “If a man for whatever reason has the opportunity to lead an extraordinary life, he has no right to keep it to himself.” Jesus lived that way. He said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep” (Jn 10:11 NKJV). To be like Him, you must live for something greater than your own interests. In his book Half Time: Changing Your Game Plan from success to significance, author Bob Buford says, “The first half of life has to do with getting and gaining, learning and earning. The second half is more risky because it has to do with living beyond the immediate.” By that he means living for a cause that is greater than yourself, and for others beyond yourself. The greater men and women of Scripture were not great because of what they earned and owned; they were great because they gave themselves to people, and causes that lived beyond them. There dream was to do something that benefited others. Only a rare minority of people are able to hold closely to their dream to make a difference, and are willing to give up everything to make that dream come true. Of people like that it will never be said that when they died, it was as though they had never lived. Their dream lives on after them, because they lived for others. And it was in living in for others and not for self that they found their greatest joy and fulfillment. The poet wrote: “Others, Lord, yes others; Let this my motto be. Help me to live for others, that I may live for Thee.”