Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Purpose Driven Life

Last week I had time to watch The Princess Bride by William Goldman. This is one of those cult classic movies you can watch over and over and pick up little things that you did not see the first ten times you watched it. The movie had Andrea the Giant, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Fred Savage and Mandy Patinkin as well as many other notable actors. As I watched the movie I seemed to pick up on Mandy Patinkin's character Inigo Montoya. What intrigued me this time was his constant repetition of a phrase "Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." He said this over and over throughout the movie with a bizarre accent that seemed to be half Spanish and half French - maybe. Not quite sure. The reason he said this was that when he was a child his father made a special sword for a six fingered man. When the six fingered man returned for the sword he was only willing to pay a tenth of the original price. When Inigo's father refused to accept the lower price the six fingered man slashed him through the heart killing him. From that day forward Igino's sole purpose in life was to find the six fingered man and revenge his fathers death. (Spoiler ahead if you are planning on watching the movie...) Eventually Inigo finds the six fingered man and kills him (this is a comedy even though it may not seem like it from my story). After Inigo kills the six fingered man he makes a statement that I never really picked up on until last week. After the six fingered man is dead Inigo says "You know, it's very strange -- I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life."

That sentence has stuck with me for days now. "You know, it's very strange -- I have been in the revenge business so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life." How many of us have pursued something so long and so hard that once we have it we are left feeling somewhat empty.We think that the car we have so desired, the job we have been chasing after, the person we knew would love us forever, would complete us and once we have it we say "You know, it's very strange -- I have been chasing after this person, this car, this job so long, now that it's over, I don't know what to do with the rest of my life." We are left feeling empty. King Solomon had this same revelation in his life:

Ecclesiastes 2:10 - 11 10 I denied myself nothing my eyes desired; I refused my heart no pleasure. My heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor.11 Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Solomon pursued gold, silver, homes, women, kingdoms, power, knowledge and on and on, he did not deny himself anything and in the end he said it was meaningless. The pursuit of earthly things will only lead to disappointment and a sense of "now what?" However, Solomon does tell us what will bring satisfaction and fulfillment:

Ecclesiastes 12: 13- 13 Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

This seems so simple yet it is so difficult to truly get a handle on. Paul charged Timothy with this same thing. He told Timothy to pursue that which is truly important, living our your faith, being true to your calling in Christ. Paul was an example to Timothy and to us:

I Timothy 6: 12-16 - 12Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.

II Timothy 4: 6-9 - 6For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. 7I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.

If you are like Inigo and so focused on an earthly goal be warned that you too may get what you want but be prepared to answer the question "Now what?" because pursuing the things that the world says will make you happy will only leave you empty and weary. The writer of the book of Hebrews realized this and tells us how to avoid it:

Hebrews 12: 2, 3 - 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Consider him. Have you done that lately, have you considered Christ and what he has done and is doing for you? Have you considered what he has called you to, a life of purpose and direction focused not on the things of this world but on the things of heaven. Consider these things and you will not find yourself sounding like Inigo Montoya.

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