I remember an advertisement from awhile back that showed a picture of a guy looking into his shaving mirror, with these words underneath: "Is it an alarm or a calling that gets you out of bed in the morning?"
Good question. What do you live for? What makes you tick? What gets you up and going in the morning? All of us need something to live for, some passion or ideal that will drive us on, give our lives purpose and meaning, raising it above the level of mere existence. We don't want our lives on earth to be some passing blip on the screen of time. We want to leave a mark. We want to make a difference.
If you were asked: “What do you live for?” How would you answer that question? What would you say is the master passion of your life right now? What's your reason for living? What gets your blood pumping? If you had to sum it up in one word or phrase, what would it be?
A poll asked that very question and 70% who responded to that poll had no idea. Zero. Nada.
The fact is many people are enduring rather than enjoying their lives. Their favorite day of the week is "someday." Someday their ship will come in. Someday they'll get that promotion, build that dream house, take that cruise, find that perfect relationship or retire to some sunny climate. An astonishing 94 percent of the people who responded to that poll said they were just "enduring" the present while waiting for "something better to happen."
Here is what you need to know: Only those who are prepared to die are really ready to live. If someone had interviewed the apostle Paul, he would have stated his life mission like this: "For me to live is Christ." (Philippians 1: 21) When we hear a statement like that, it may prompt us to imagine a person with his head in the clouds, or some glassy-eyed religious fanatic. Some might fall back on that old statement, "They're so heavenly minded they're no earthly good."
Most of the deeply committed believers in Christ I've met through the years have been gracious, approachable, accessible, authentic people. Sure, there are the fanatical, spacey, one-clown-short-of-a-circus types, too. You'll find folks like that in every crowd and every church body. But most of the Christians I've been around over the years have been easy people to be around – not people who looked down their noses and made others feel condemned or unworthy. Dear God I pray You deliver us from the weird, holier-than-thou, space-cadet spirituality! Amen!
Paul was a balanced, practical man who cared deeply about people and believed with all his heart that the message of Jesus Christ could give people a purpose for life, restore marriages, build families, shatter addictions and bring unprecedented hope, balance and happiness to men and women all over the world. He couldn't wait to get up in the morning to tell people about it.
When Paul opened his eyes in the morning, he could say, "Hey, if I live another day, I get to serve the One I love more than anyone else in the world. And if I die before bedtime tonight, I'll be in heaven in His presence. How can I go wrong? Life and death are a win-win!"
All of us need something to get us out of bed in the morning besides the alarm clock. For Paul, it all boiled down to Jesus. And even though he spent his last few months in a dungeon and left this life courtesy of a Roman executioner, he died a happy, fulfilled man … I pray we all get up and live just like Paul witnessed for us.