Building a better life

The advise has been everywhere this year.  You can’t ignore it. You can see it on the internet, in the newspaper, hear it on the radio, and watch it on the television.  Everybody was saying the same thing: ignore the daily ups and downs and commit to the long term.  They were talking about the stock market, but they could have been talking about life.  Both the stock market and history shows that long term commitments pay off.  

The sad thing is that today, as the pace of change speeds up, people are more and more reluctant to make long term commitments.  The attitude today is “we don’t want to be committed to anything.”  We don’t want to commit to a long term marriage.  We don’t want to commit to long term investments.  We don’t want to commit to a church. We don’t want to commit to long term volunteering. We don’t want to commit to anything.  In fact, if there is any wide spread attitude today it’s “I want to keep my options open. I don’t want to be tied down.” Rick Warren says people say “life is a buffet and we don’t want to get to the end and say, `Oh, I filled my plate up with the wrong stuff!'”  

Here is the real problem. You can’t live without making commitments!  You can’t buy a house without making a commitment. You can’t get married without making a commitment.  You can’t even get a driver’s license without making some kind of commitment.  Nothing good ever happens without making commitments.  If we go through life without making any commitments we just drift without any focus. If we go through retirement without making commitments we will fade into insignificance and become a cranky old man.

Now you can’t just be committed to anything and everything. So how do you choose the things to be committed to? I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is “how does this fit with my values?”

What you choose will show what I really think is important anyway.  That’s because you won stick at it unless you see value in it. Of course, I may say something is important to me, but the way I commit my time and my money shows what is really important.  I may say, for instance, that my family is important to me.  But if I commit all my time to my work or hobbies, and none of my time is committed to my family, it shows what’s really important.  If I say my health is important to me, but I don’t commit any of my time to taking care of myself, then it means that my health is not really important to me. 

If you stay uncommitted to anything it really means nothing is important to you. If you don’t make any commitments in life, you’re basically saying, “The only thing that’s important to me, is me.”  So you’re saying, “I don’t consider anything, or any cause in life worthy of my commitment.  I am only committed to me.” That’s called selfishness.  

The other thing we should note is that I become more of whatever I’m committed to. Your life will be shaped by whatever you commit to. So if you commit to being an animal carer, your life will be shaped by that and you will probably end up with a few cats and dogs that no-one else wants. Of course, if I believe that making money is the most important thing in life, then my life is going to be shaped by that.  You will probably be an expert in financial terms most to of us have no idea about. You will talk in terms that make no sense to almost everybody about things like CAPEX, ETF’s, REITs etc. The last term is the only one that makes sense to me!

You can easily work out that the destiny of nations are determined by the commitments of its people.  If you send an army into battle, you will find out fairly quickly whether or not they are committed to the cause. And the truth is we have freedom in this country because other people were so committed to us having that freedom that they spilled their blood for that.  Our freedom was bought with the price of commitment.  

The bible says that the commitments that we make, not only determine here and now, they also determine our eternity.  Life here on earth whether it’s 60, 80, or 100 years, is brief compared to the years you’re going to spend in eternity.  If you develop a relationship with Christ, you’re going to spend eternity with Him and your rewards and responsibilities are going to be based on how you used your life here on earth.  That involves commitment.

Jesus said it like this, “What will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  That’s a very important question because every day of your life you’re exchanging your life for something.  We’re all given just a certain number of days to live.  The average man in Australia will live 29,382 days.  (Women get an extra 1000 days). But every day if you wake up, you will exchange your life for something.  Some people exchange their life for Netflix or the internet or computer games.  Some people exchange their life for trashy novels or newspapers. Some people exchange their life to do nothing. 

Wise people use their time wisely.  Wise people plan how they’re going to exchange their life.  You will exchange your life for something. so when you make a commitment you’re choosing what you will exchange your life for. You’re choosing how you’re going to spend your time.  You’re choosing how you’re going to use your resources.  

So if you don’t get anything else, get this:  Every choice has a consequence.  In life, every choice you make has a consequence. Sometimes it seems an insignificant choice, but in the grand scheme of things they all add up\. Sometimes the most insignificant choice ends up being to greatest thing you have ever chosen. It’s absolutely vital that we learn to make wise commitments.

So what are you waiting for. Get up, find something worthwhile, get ready to do things and make a commitment to following it through.

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