So much to do, so little time. So much to chase and accomplish and attain. With everything the world sets before us, it’s no wonder that one of the greatest struggles we all have in common is prioritizing.
What should I really be spending my time on?
Is this something that’s actually worth the effort?
Should I go all in on this, or is my energy better spent elsewhere?
This is one of those times when I think it’s perfectly okay to answer a question with a question. Whenever you start to wonder whether something’s really worth it, ask yourself, “Does it pass the eulogy test?”
Have you ever noticed that so much of what we devote our lives to never seems to come up at funerals?
Nobody ever talks about how big the dead person’s house was or how nice their neighborhood was. Nobody stands up and tearfully tells how many designer shoes the deceased owned or how many luxury vehicles they drove. Strangely, you never hear anyone reminiscing about the value of the person’s investment portfolio.
When it’s all over, some things just don’t matter…
In the book of Ecclesiastes, Solomon referred to these ultimately pointless pursuits as “vanity and vexation of spirit.” The wise man tells how he tried everything. He stockpiled more stuff than we can imagine. He gave himself over to wine, women, and song. He initiated massive building projects. And yet all of that accomplishment and accumulation still didn’t feel significant in the grand scheme of things.
That’s how the King James Version renders it, but another great translation of that phrase is “chasing after the wind.” Have you ever dropped a bunch of papers on a windy day? If so, you know how futile it can feel trying to gather what you lost. And how foolish you look doing it! Just when you think you’ve got one, a gust comes along and sweeps it further away. You can see all this stuff you want, but no matter how hard you scramble, the ultimate satisfaction of “having it all” remains just out of reach.
…but some things outlast the lifespan.
You know what we talk about at funerals? We talk about how the person made us laugh and how the person made us feel. We talk about how much they loved their children and their grandchildren. We tell about the times they went out of their way to help us. That time they gave a priceless piece of advice that changed everything. That stormy season when they were literally the only anchor holding us down. The times when they didn’t have to…but they did, and it made a world of difference.
These are the things that stay with us. This is how we ultimately measure the worth of a life. Not the shiny stuff. Not the accolades and the accomplishments. Not the degrees or the credit score or the corporate ladder-climbing.
Now don’t get it twisted. There’s nothing wrong with going after the things you want in life. The scriptures encourage diligence and passion in our earthly pursuits. Solomon said that it’s a good thing to enjoy the fruits of one’s labors. If you really want it, go for it! And if you get it, give glory to God and savor it while it lasts.
Just don’t gain the whole world and lose your soul. Don’t stack up stuff that you can’t take with you, only to find that you have no treasure waiting for you in the life to come. Go for it, but don’t go mad in the pursuit. Don’t forfeit your family or give up your health. Don’t sacrifice your self-respect. And if you never get what you go after, don’t let not having it ruin your life. Live a joyful, thankful life anyway, and live it to the fullest with whatever you have.
So when you’re wondering what to do, make sure it’s something that matters.
Find ways to pour positivity into the next generation.
Look for ways to lift up somebody who’s been beaten down by life.
Spend more time loving on your loved ones.
Put your energy into something that will leave a legacy of peace and compassion.
If it won’t come up when you’re dead, don’t let it consume you while you’re alive.
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