Living Life Well

How does a person live life well?

It turns out to be Jewish sages who remind us of five realities that point to the answer:

old man (1)1. People are designed to be flawed. We’re not fond of that, so we spend a great deal of energy either attempting to overcome our imperfections or hiding them from others. This is not to say we shouldn’t strive to grow, but perfectionism is a temptation to be aware of. (See Ecclesiastes)

2. Our knowledge is therefore flawed and incomplete. We don’t like this much either. Knowledge is control; certitude is comforting. So we seek our own understanding to feel safe and independent. Again, this is not to deny the value of curiosity and intellectual/emotional development. But a little humility keeps us listening, even more faithful. (Ecclesiastes and Job)

3. Life is intended to include the unfair, the unjust, various contradictions, paradoxes and inconsistencies. We really despise this one. It’s what Job was all about. We want to depend on predictable consequences and we expect fairness. However, it’s just not how things work. Healthy people drop dead; kind people get taken advantage of; the greedy prosper. (See poor Job)

Now, if we are able to accept these realities, the next two truths become the gifts in waiting:

4. God wants his people to be happy…Not some kind of self-serving, shallow ‘happy face’ happiness, but deep joy in every circumstance despite the sometimes hard experiences of  1,2, and 3. (See Ecclesiastes again) Happiness is the Divine Imperative.

5. God provides the Way …of ultimate joy through dependence on the love of that other Jewish teacher, Jesus Christ. Indeed, life can certainly be better when we embrace the truths of the first four realities, but the reality of Christ’s love for us invites us into a still deeper hope.

So live life well…and smile.



Filed under Random thoughts

2 responses to “Living Life Well

  1. Randy Batson

    Great wisdom from the Jewish sages, and thought provoking perceptions from you, David. But, where does # 5 leave the majority of the world’s people who don’t know or recognize the “Son” through the person of the historic Jesus?

    • Yes, Randy. It’s that nagging paradox of exclusivity from an inclusive teacher, Jesus. Yes, I do struggle with this but I would answer that I believe people can ‘know’ the Son via hearts disposed toward the love and compassion that was his, even when they’ve either never heard his historical name, or have had his name toxified. More importantly, I believe HE knows THEM.

      I should add that I do NOT believe that Christianity is the only way to God, but I DO believe that the risen Christ is. So I am strongly inclined to embrace the idea of C. S. Lewis’ ‘anonymous Christians’…those whose hearts are in union with the Spirit of God but don’t consciously relate to the historical Jesus.

      The Jewish teachers who predated Jesus would have understood that 1-4 helps all of us enjoy a better life. That said, it is my belief that a deeper and conscious encounter with the living Christ makes that better life, better still.

      So nice to hear from you! If I’m not mistaken, this is the same issue that had us gently divided on your wonderful book, ‘Holy Shift,’ which I continue to recommend.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s