How To Measure Your Life?
Life is unpredictable. We can not and should not take it for granted. Every day we wake up and we never really know what the day might bring. Last Monday, Aug. 23rd, longtime Anglican pastor of Nashville’s Church of the Redeemer, Father Thomas McKenzie, started a well-earned sabbatical. His first task was to drive his 22-year-old daughter Ella back to New Mexico where she was a student at St. John’s College. Tragically, their car collided with a tractor-trailer on Interstate 40 just west of Nashville and both of them were killed. I did not know Father McKenzie personally, but I have known of him for some time. He has impacted many lives in our community and beyond. His leadership at Redeemer and in Nashville will be greatly missed. He was a humble leader, courageous, personable, compassionate, and devoted to sharing the gospel. He was unafraid to speak truth to power and was already working to help the Afghan refugees.
In what would be his final sermon last Sunday titled “Surrender,” McKenzie preached, “Humility is not a single action. Humility isn’t a single decision. It’s not a single prayer or single sacrament. Humility is thousands upon thousands of little moments in which we surrender to the God we often do not understand.” I am praying for his family and his church during this incredibly painful time. Truth be told, not a single one of us knows how long we will live here on this earth. In the book of James we read, “What is your life? The length of your life is as uncertain as the morning mist. Now you see it, but soon it is gone.” The only question we must answer is, “How will we live the days or years that we are blessed to have?”
Former Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christiansen wrote a powerful book titled “How Will You Measure Your Life?” Christiansen says that before he started teaching, when he would return to Harvard as an alum for reunions of his own business school class, he noticed that lots of people were achieving worldly success – earning large salaries, becoming CEO’s of companies, gaining lots of influence and status, owning multiple homes. But the problem he saw was that many of them were having serious problems in their personal lives, and a few had even gone to jail. They were losing their marriages. They had been through multiple divorces and had no relationship with their children. Friendships were superficial and conversations shallow. So he intentionally incorporated character and values into his classes on disruptive innovation.
Jesus raises a similar question: “What will it profit them if they gain the whole world but forfeit their life?” Father McKenizie knew the importance of this question. Far too many people in our culture measure life by the wrong metrics – money, success, fame, and social status. Less attention is paid to authenticity, marriage, family, service, and friendship, which is where meaning is found. Forbes once published an article identifying the “Top 25 Regrets” that people had in life which included:
• Working too much at the expense of family and friends
• Losing touch with good friends over time
• Not turning off the phone more often
• Not realizing that happiness is a choice
• Paying more attention to your marriage
• Burying the hatchet with an old friend or family member
• Spending more time with children
• Taking care of your health at a young age
• Being a better mother or father
Each of these has to do with love and giving. How will we measure our lives when all is said and done? How can we live our lives so that we don’t have regrets at the end? These are important questions worth asking today.
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