Some few days to my birthday, which falls on the 12th of March every year, I was struck with a new realization of the essence of Life and the relevance of birthday celebration. I began to ask myself. “Why should people celebrate their birthday with so much pomp and pageantry?” “Why would I celebrate my birthday too? “ Many questions ran through my mind in quick successions, but the one that was more puzzling was; “what have I done with my over forty year of mortal existence?” My search for an answer to this latter question left me with a mixed feeling of perplexity and sadness.
Fine, I have achieved a modicum of success as a businessman; I am married with two lovely kids; modestly, I can provide for myself and family; I have even been involved in series of humanitarian activities. But, is that all there is to life? I had an intuitive feeling, that there should be more to life beyond this mundane existence. As I continued with that contemplative probe into the essence of Life, a flash of inspiration dawned on me, which unveiled a whole new understanding of the worth of our lives. Please follow me closely in this piece, as I share with you some of the insights
The first thing I would like you to realize is that, the life you have is a gift, given to you by God. You do not own it, neither do you have right over it. I really need to ‘drum’ this fact into us. Because, many of us carry on, as if we created and own our lives. Now, if you know that, you do not own your life, it would follow therefore, that it ought to be used solely for the purpose for which God, the true owner, created it. You must realize that God has a purpose for your life and that; you are here on earth to fulfill his purpose, not yours.
Please, also note that your purpose in Life is not found in your business or job career; it is not in your marriage or the children you have; your purpose in life does not find expression in your material riches either. Rather your purpose in life is simply the reason or the intent why God created you. It is the assignment you have on planet earth, given to you by God. It is only purpose that would give meaning and usefulness to your life.
Secondly, you must also appreciate the fact that, the term purpose is not just some abstract concept presented to us, by most motivational speakers, who portray it in a nebulous manner that often times obscure its true meaning. In providing a definition for purpose, it is important for us to acquaint ourselves to the basic TRUTH, that every of God’s creation exist for a reason and, that they all have a role to play in ensuring the sustenance of life in general.
Everything God created was designed to give back to life. Life gives us the resources we need to survive, and mandates us to give to others, the resources to survive as well. Essentially, this web of interdependence creates the existence of interconnectivity amongst God’s creations. Against this backdrop therefore, purpose can be viewed as the ‘contribution’ each of us makes to the overall sustenance of life.
To live for the good of others is to live a life of purpose. To find your purpose in life, you have to identify that ‘thing’ that invokes either passion or a strong dislike in you. I think Mike Murdock, an internationally acclaim motivational speaker and author, defines purpose succinctly. When he said “what you have a strong passion or dislike for, is what you are created for”. Let me say this at the junction, that the usefulness of your life, by God estimation, is a function of how your life fulfills His purpose.
A purposeless life is a wasted life. The sad reality of our lives is that we live it as if we own it. We spend ( or waste) it pursuing personal ambitions at the expense of fulfilling purpose. We are tragically caught in the web of greed, in our inordinate quest for material possessions and riches. Every year, we roll out the drums to ‘celebrate’ our birthday, thanking God for the gift of life. The celebrations are usually very elaborate with much music and sumptuous meal served to invited guest from far and near.
Ironically, not many of us ever bothered to find out if the creator approved the path of life we have chosen. If our lives or our birthday must be celebrated, I think the right person to do that is God, our creator. And such celebration must be premised on God’s approval and commendation. He is the one who knows if we have done well or not. He is also the one who decides whether the ‘achievement’ of our lives is worthy of celebration.
The truth is that, it is an error for many of us to ‘celebrate’ birthday, when actually many of us should use the day to weep, after taking stock of the waste that our lives had amounted to. While we regale in ostentatious birthday merriment, God looks down at us, and He is amazed at our utter foolishness. I honestly think that birthday time should be used for intensive introspection or sober reflection, to ascertain if our lives are in ‘alignment’ with God’s purpose for them
The gift of life is time bound. Every day you spend is irreplaceable. You have a choice to either spend it according to the “manufacturer’s specification” or waste it in the pursuit of personal aggrandizement. But remember, that one day you would stand before the maker to give account of your life.
The most costly mistake we all make in life is to assume that ‘we have all the time’ to do what we ought to do now. That is a fallacy! You have no control over time, only God does. The only time you are aware of, that provides you an opportunity to live effectively is NOW. So spend every day of your life wisely in the pursuit of purpose. Live everyday as if it is the last day of your life. Don’t be deceived by the vanity of your material possessions. They cannot give fulfillment to your life. Fulfillment is only found in a life of purpose.
Azemobor Gregory is the International Coordinator of