Popular musician Toby Keith, in his song Somewhere Else, says, “Cuz if you don’t know where you’re goin’ – you might end up somewhere else.”
In the last article, I wrote about the rat-race that encompasses most of our activities, schedules and priorities. There is a prevailing (but subtle) pressure on each of us to become progressively unsatisfied with all that may constitute our lives. We are told through marketing (self-help books, motivational speakers, educational programs, real-estate companies, banks, etc.) that we deserve a better car, education, house, salary, relationship, career, hair, face, body – and the list continues indefinitely.
Even though there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to “improve” these areas of our lives, it can create major issues if you’re not aware of WHY or FOR WHOM you’re doing them. Most of us haven’t even defined WHY we want a better education, salary, house, car, etc. We might state things such as financial security, respect, prestige, etc., but here’s where we often confuse “ends” with what need to be “byproducts.”
Many men and women have given testimony of the emptiness felt by pursuing something as elusive as power, prestige, money, position – only to discover that once achieved, the emptiness that first drove them still exists. It’s not a coincidence that Bill Gates is an incredible philanthropist – money does not satisfy the longing within man for meaning and purpose, only servitude and the giving of oneself to something larger.
This is why Jesus asks us to “seek first the kingdom of God.” It’s about setting our eyes on something much larger then ourselves. Not only are we to seek it, but we’re also to help develop it here on earth. How?
Developing a “kingdom mindset” means taking every opportunity afforded us (through work, school, relationships, etc.) and doing it to the best of our ability as if we were doing it for God Himself. This does two things: 1) glorifies God, and 2) creates a more beautiful world for your fellow man and woman. These two principles embody the command to love God with all your heart and your neighbor as yourself.
From this core principle can spring up the true meaning and purpose needed to support your further pursuance of “improvement,” educationally, financially, relationally, vocationally, and the list continues.
The third part of this article will deal with HOW we structure our lives and habits to consistently live out these practices.