Summary: Last in a six-part series of living intentionally and not just letting life happen to you.
The Benefits of an Intentional Life
For the past 5 weeks I have preached messages under the broad heading of LIVING AN INTENTIONAL LIFE. During this time, we have seen the fact that God has always worked in an intentional manner—that is, he has never had an accident or made a mistake. We’ve considered the benefits of living intentionally in our spiritual lives, family lives, church life and just last week Buck Trautwein shared with us a wonderful example of being an intentional witness.
Now, I want to ask you a few questions—why? Why have we taken the time to think about AN INTENTIONAL LIFE? Does this issue really have anything to do with my life? In the broader scope of things, are there any benefits to this idea?
I believe these questions can be answered in the premise I gave you the very first week we started this series. If we do not have an agenda for our lives, one will be provided for us—either by the events of life itself, or by other people. You see, to live intentionally means to live on purpose. It means that we are taking control and determining how we will live our lives and spend our time, energy and resources. Without such a plan, life can easily “get away from us” and seemingly have us at its mercy.
I want to reiterate one word of caution before we continue. In saying that intentional living allows us to take control and determine how we will live our lives, it must be understood that I mean we live our lives the way God wants us to. I realize this sounds like two opposing ideas, “Live intentionally, take control; but do it God’s way.” But in reality, it makes perfect sense. We must intentionally determine to do things God’s way or we will live by another agenda. Left to ourselves, all of us will wander from the narrow road. Don’t be so sure of yourself and your ability to always do exactly what God desires. We are a fallen people and given the opportunity we will fall still farther. That’s why intentional living is such an important issue.
Now, let’s take a broader view of this topic and consider the benefits of living an intentional life.
SCRIPTURE: Colossians 3:23
The benefits of living an intentional life:
I. The benefits of having purpose
A. Purpose is meaning
One of golf’s immortal moments came when a Scotsman demonstrated the new game to President Ulysses Grant. Carefully placing the ball on the tee, he took a mighty swing. The club hit the turf and scattered dirt all over the President’s beard and surrounding vicinity, while the ball placidly waited on the tee. Again the Scotsman swung, and again he missed. Our President waited patiently through six tries and then quietly stated, “There seems to be a fair amount of exercise in the game, but I fail to see the purpose of the ball.” (Campus Life)
1. President Ulysses Grant made a statement that could be true about many lives today: There seems to be fair amount of exercise…but I fail to see the purpose. In other words, there is often much activity but little or no progress. For all the busyness in many of our lives I must ask, “are we getting anywhere from it?” Is there a purpose for it?
2. Purpose gives meaning to life. It gives one the ability and authority to say “I know why I’m doing what I’m doing.”
ILLUSTRATION: That reminds me of the story of a little girl who asked her mother, “Mommy, why do you cut the ends off the meat before you cook it?” The girl’s mother told her that she thought it added to the flavor by allowing the meat to better absorb the spices, but perhaps she should ask her grandmother since she always did it that way. So the little girl finds her grandmother and asks, “Grandma, why do you and Mommy cut the ends of the meat off before you cook it?” Her grandmother thought a moment and answered, “I think it allows the meat to stay tender because it soaks up the juices better, but why don’t you ask your Nana, after all, I learned from her and she always did it that way.” The little girl is getting a little frustrated, but climbs up in her great-grandmother’s lap and asks, “Nana, why do you cut the ends off the meat before you cook it?” Nana answered, “I don’t know why these women do it, I did it because my pot wasn’t big enough.”
3. Purpose gives meaning and allows you know why you’re doing what you’re doing!
B. Purpose is an anchor…to keep the surprises of life from tossing us around and inflicting constant seasickness on us.