Summary: Sermon explores three ways to make a person’s life more meaningful: know who you are, know what you are to do, and make the most of your time.
Three Ways to Make Your Life More Meaningful
Short sideline passes; long bombs, and sometimes long over-the-middle pass plays are common after the “Two Minute Warning” is given in a professional football game. Here game clock management is as important as yardage gained. Despite what transpired for fifty-eight minutes of quality football, the outcome will ultimately be decided in just two minutes of play. Experienced teams make the most of the game’s remaining minutes of playing time through well-executed “two minute drills” that are both efficient and mistake-free. Effective offenses train hard by practicing, and even choreographing their scoring attack. Despite a team’s best efforts many football games end with the offensive unit on the goal line unable to run another play because time expired. Fortunately, football teams know how much time they have to work with before the final buzzer sounds. Our lives are different. Most of us will never know when our time is up and the game of life will end. When time runs out on our lives and the game of life ends we will be asked: How well did we play the game?
Generally speaking, people are passive about planning their lives. Most people tend to go with the flow and like activities that give them instant gratification. For example, most married couples today spent more time planning their weddings than planning their lives together. Think about it. Do you remember going to the “perfect wedding” only to see the couple break up a year later. Our generation is fun and exciting and we do a lot of things. Although our career successes, world travels, and higher education keep us active and knowledgeable, they do not make our lives meaningful. We’ve failed at producing people that are content with their lives. Worldly success, fame, and fortune do not translate into lives with meaning. All we have to do is look at the sports and entertainment industries and see incredibly talented, wealthy people self-destruct on drugs, immoral behavior, and reckless living. My friends, there is hope. Fortunately today in St. Paul’s letter to the Ephesians 5:8-19, he instructs us about three ways to make our lives more meaningful.
First Way To Make Your Life More Meaningful – Know Who You Are
Before we can have meaningful lives, we first need to know who we are. I’m not talking about knowing basic facts such as our name, rank, and serial number. Knowing who we are means knowing about the infinite world within us. Knowing who we are means knowing what we stand for, what we live for, what we hope to accomplish, and knowing what impressions we want to make - it’s knowing what floats our boat. Ancient Greeks seeking advice came to the city of Delphi to consult the famous Oracle at the Temple of Apollo. Here the inscription “Know Thyself” was carved in the temple and it was perhaps the greatest advise that one could receive. We cannot responsibly act or find meaning in our lives until we get past this first step. We must spend some time and know ourselves.
Think for a moment – if I were to ask you who are you, what would you say? There are two basic ways to answer the question. For the non-Christian, people define themselves based on their personal characteristics or accomplishments. For example, I’m a 46 year-old father, a former wrestler, a Certified Public Accountant, a graduate of the St. Bonaventure University, and so on. On the other hand, Christians see themselves quite differently. Christians define themselves by their relationship to their Lord and Savior. The world defines itself in terms of what they do – Christians define themselves in term of who they serve.
Christians are special people and St. Paul reminds the Christians at Ephesus about their unique identity. They are instructed to “walk as children of the light.” What does this phrase mean exactly? Throughout the New Testament, we see several references to Jesus as the Light. Light in the Bible represents both truth and holiness. As God’s children, Christians are called to act honorably, and morally for the glory of God. Children of the light call upon the true Light of Christ for strength and direction. Just as plants need light to grow, Christians also need the Light of Christ to grow in the faith. The Light of Christ brings life to His people. We receive the Light of Christ through prayer, meditation, worship, Bible study, the sacraments, and performing good works. By basking in the Light of Christ, we become more Christ-like in our motives and actions. Eventually we will be able to unite our will with Christ’s will for us. Then as true Children of the Light, we will be able to radiate Christ’s light to the world. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:14, “You are the light of the world.” His light in us will enable us to heal creation, expose sin, and devote ourselves to serving Him. Knowing that we are Children of the Light empowers us to lead meaningful lives because through Him all needs are satisfied.