Friday, January 22, 2010

Begin with the End in Mind--Jesus!

“A life is either all spiritual or not spiritual at all. No man can serve two masters. Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire." Thomas Merton

In the book Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey talks about how being proactive increases effectiveness. A part of being proactive is practicing habit number one, "Begin with the End in Mind." This is very similar to what Thomas Merton conveys when he says, "Your life is shaped by the end you live for."

Here is an exercise for you and I promise if you do it it will help to live everyday fully and with purpose.

Begin with the end in mind:
Imagine you were going to a funeral home for a viewing. You walk down the aisle and approach the casket to pay your respects only to discover it is you in the casket.

Now, who would be present at your viewing? What would they be saying about your life?

What would be your life's story? Who would be willing and able to share and speak about your life at the funeral?

Take a few moments and think about who you would like to contribute to your life story and what would you want them to be able to say about your life?

When you do this exercise it will help to provide you with and idea of how you ought to be living each day.

Identify the key words that keeping showing up in your statements. In them you will find a mission statement for your lives and your personal values that drive you toward mission.

In the second chapter of Crazy Love we discussed the fact that our lives on earth are but a vapor, here today and gone tomorrow. So, if we follow the same train of thought as Merton and Covey we would recognize the significance of the here and now. So, the challenge is to determine what the end is that we will live for today. I suggest that Jesus is that end. Here is why; before we were ever born He knew us, we were created by, through, and for Him, and in while we are alive He sustains us, and on that day when we cross over into eternity we will rerun to Him, Jesus. See the scripture below.

Colossians 1:16-20 (New International Version)

16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once we choose what the end is that we live for we will need a way to keep us focused on that end. Here is one way that came from the Crazy Love discussion questions Wednesday night:

Without going to extremes, what's something you could keep on your key chain, or saved on your iPod or stored in your cell phone to keep yourself aware that our life is truly a vapor?

Who do you know that lives their lives as if each day is his or her last? What is this person's effect on people around him or her? Does living that way make him or her seem, well, different? Why?

Well I think that about covers it. I hope you have a great weekend. Don't forget to share your, thoughts, questions, and experiences with me.