“Let me live that I may praise you . . .” – Psalm 119:175
I recently read a blog written just before a relatively young man had died, and released just afterwards. I think I expected to read about how beautiful his life had been despite all that can go haywire in an average life. I anticipated words about how much he loved his family and friends, and how he had found meaning in the day-to-day.
None of that was there.
Instead, the man spoke of his successful life in the advertising industry, the grueling hours he kept, and the choices his work had forced him to make and came to this conclusion: It wasn’t worth it. His blog goes on to ruthlessly rip apart his life and career and industry.
It’s a harsh read. And yet, it’s an important one. Because sometimes we all need a brutal reminder of the fact that we are living with the limited resource of time, and that one day we will have exhausted our supply.
I believe you can find meaning and purpose in almost any kind of work if you look hard enough. But, there’s a danger in sacrificing your life to it, and making your job synonymous with your personal identity.
The Psalmist, in the longest Psalm in the book, writes that we should live to praise God. I take that as a sort of test. In our daily lives, are we praising or glorifying God with our actions? Or are we just (temporarily) filling ourselves up with empty praise?
Put another way, at the end of the day will our meaning come from the trophies on the dusty shelf? Or from who we are as children of God who spend our lives in praise?
It’s a brutal test. But it’s one that may save us heartache in our last days.
God, help us to turn our hearts away from vanities, and set our minds on you. Amen.
Emily C. Heath is Senior Pastor of The Congregational Church in Exeter, New Hampshire. She is a frequent Huffington Post blogger and a regular contributor to the UCC’s NewSacred.