Submitted by Rev. Dr. Don Longbottom, Conference Minister
As I look back over a lifetime of experiences, some wonderful and some significantly less so, I see how I would have done some things differently. Most, if not all, strive to be successful and there is nothing wrong with that. However, if the drive to succeed drives out all else, we have a problem. Such a state of affairs can easily occur because our culture is a “driver” for a success mentality. I write of success above all else mentality. In part, this is because only the successful can accumulate all the “stuff” that is out there for accumulation. Material success can easily become our God.
So why is this the case? I believe we live in, breathe in, and have our being in a culture of material and spiritual distraction. The great western “retail locomotive” cannot afford to have you reflecting on the priorities of life. When we reflect on what really matters, we soon realize that winning and succeeding at the accumulation of stuff is a meaningless distraction.
Serious reflection always brings us around to recognition of our finiteness and hence, our mortality. We inevitably realize, within numerous cases a serious level of discomfort, that just as surely as we were born we are going to die. We have a beginning and we have an end. Along with the Apostle Paul, I have the “hope of life eternal” but there is nevertheless an end to this life.
So then, what really matters? The two things that matter most, in my opinion, are love and relationship. They are in fact two sides of the same coin as the one is inextricably linked to the other.
As a Christian, there is first my love and relationship to my Creator through Jesus Christ. This relationship is the foundation for all my other relationships. People everywhere always hunger for a loving caring relationship. Nothing will change this not even the internet and social media. As a matter of fact, the great success of social media is built on this fact, despite the fact that social media alone is not a sufficient foundation for “real” relationship.
Nearing mid-July, this summer has been challenging on multiple levels, and I have been forced to reflect again on what matters most in this life. It is, I am convinced, the matter of love and relationship that matters most.
So, as you move and breathe and live this summertime, remember to love and be loved, to care and to be cared about, and when you have the opportunity to make someone’s life a little better or brighter…do it.
Age is no guarantor of wisdom but it seems a necessary condition. It occurs to me that it is in the looking back over the narrative of our lives that we are best able to discern what really mattered. Loving relationship matter most.
Peace and Grace,