To the Brim!

Ever wondered what it means to live your life well? If you have, congratulations. Most of the people I’ve known well as colleagues, friends, competitors, or family never gave it a real thought. Instead, they focused on filling life up to the brim, regardless of the consequences.

Whether it was work, sports, avocations, or relationships, they seemed to think the goal was to fill it up to the top, and if a bit slopped over, no problem. You could not have too much of a good thing.

It was easy to identify that aspect of another’s personality. After all, most of us can see our faults in others, but we fail to see them as easily in ourselves. That was why it was so easy for me to see someone working him or herself to death and mutter under my breath, “They’ll never live to enjoy it.”

The Bible provides an excellent example of the point I am trying to make in Luke 12:16-21. If you think anything coming from the Bible is baloney, think of this story as a fable or a bit of philosophical dialogue by an ancient Greek. Whatever the truth, you should be able to find modern examples that will support the story.

In Luke, Jesus tells the parable of a rich man whose fields yield the harvest of a lifetime. In fact, the harvest is so great his barns cannot hold everything. So, he decides to tear them down and build larger barns, thinking he can live the rest of his days off the bounty. Sadly for him, God ends his life that night, and he reaps none of the rewards.

Yes, it is a parable, and no, you do not have to believe in the Bible to understand it. Every day, someone on this earth has worked, hoarded, saved, whatever to have enough. Enough to live the rest of their days traveling. Enough to spend the rest of their days playing golf. Enough to have the rest of their days doing nothing, if that is what they see as success.

To them, they have filled their cup of life to the brim. They are ready to enjoy the benefits of all those years of endeavor, and they go to bed imagining how wonderful life will be now. Sadly, they never wake up the next morning.

That is where I was headed in the past. I was a climber. I set goals, and I achieved them. I ran the race, and I won most of the time. When I didn’t win, I found another race and won that one. That was a life well lived for me, winning. People knew my name. I was invited to places some people never see, much less visit.

Then God, karma, life, the universe, choose your belief, threw me a curve. I realized I was chasing the wrong dream. I was filling my barns with things. Be they titles, awards, letters of appreciation, commendations, or money. They were meaningless in the long run.

What really mattered was who would remember me and what would they remember. The details of how God got my attention are of little importance. The reality is this. I found myself in a place where I could make a real difference in the lives of others. Others close to me, and some I never met. My prayer is they will remember me long after I’m gone.

Perhaps, I am fooling myself, but in some cases, I think that will happen. It will happen because of who I became, not what I was, how much money I had, or what office I held. Rather it will be because I made a difference in their life, and they in mine. If I can keep it up, my life will truly have been well-lived, not just filled to the brim.

© sinnerswalk – 2021

About S. Eric Jackson

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