I would love to say that I am not genuinely afraid about anything – but that isn’t true. A big fear of mine is insignificance. I am afraid, to put it simply, of living a life that doesn’t matter. I am afraid of leaving the world exactly as I found it, no different for my having been here. I am afraid, as the writer Henry Thoreau said, of coming to the end of life and finding that I have not lived. I am afraid of having to stand before Jesus, shamefully admitting that I lived my life for my OWN purposes, plans and agendas… and not for His.
A lot of people say something like this these days… that they are fearful of not having living a life of significance, but they think “having lived” means having a lot of adventures or a lot of fun or a lot of money. I don’t think that has much to do with it. Significant living comes from filling your life with things which last forever. That’s why the usual things people seek to guarantee importance in their lives – money, fame, power – don’t work very well. They all come to an end, often during the person’s own life, and certainly thereafter.
What are the things which last forever? Justice, mercy, forgiveness, compassion and grace are a few. Truth also lasts forever. These are all forms of the greatest value of all – love. And as you know, the source and perfect Giver of love is God.
Love God first, love people second. If done correctly, everything else is insignificant details.
If I want my life to count, to be significant, then I will try to fill it as much as possible with these attitudes and actions. If you have made someone else’s life better, you have done something of eternal significance. And that means that a significant life will usually have lots of people in it, because people are the only part of this world which will last forever.
This world is filled with threats – some imagined, some real – to our safety, to our sense of being okay. The ultimate security, the only true safety, is to be in a right relationship with Jesus Christ, the great God who is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. He was there before the beginning. He has no end. He has seen and suffered all. He has known our fears. He loves us. He sets us free.