Monday, February 9, 2009

The Big Idea of a Focused Life

I know I've likely expressed this before here on the blog, but as a mother and a teacher I reserve the right to repeat myself, and to do it often.

There are many benefits and blessings in homeschooling. One of those just so happens to be the Bible course the kids do, and the unexpected blessing is not what they're learning (although it's truly a great course) but the benefits I get out of it.

This week we're going over the outline of Ecclesiastes. Before we start the study in the book we always go over the outline which includes the following sections:

Author, Date of Writing, Purpose of the Book, Outline of the Book, and The Big Idea. I really like the Big Idea section because it's written in a way that is usually a springboard for further discussion. In today's Big Idea it starts out this way:

"Ecclesiastes is a philosophical book that preaches about the emptiness of life when we do not fear God and serve him."

It goes on to give general contrasts between a life lived for self and how that impacts people around you, and a life lived for God, and likewise how that also affects people around you. What we usually do is use the general examples the Big Idea section gives and then insert real life examples from various sources such as stories we've seen in the news, or people we know personally. In today's example it was fairly easy to do this, since there have been more than a few cases in the news recently about someone who lived like a hermit while stowing away ludicrous amounts of cash their whole lives. At the end of life's journey, these are truly empty lives lived purely for self, where they could have been fantastic lives lived for the glory of God and doing amazingly gracious things for the people of God. While they were not lives lived without focus, the focus was in the wrong place all along, and once they're gone there is quite literally nothing to show for it except a few comments along the lines of "wow, that's really sad".

I suppose it's only normal and natural that the older I get the more I think about my own mortality and what kind of example I'm setting for those who will look at my life once I'm gone. In my case I've actually had to think about it quite a bit sooner than maybe other moms my age, after dealing with becoming a widow at 29. The older I get though, the more I do think about what kind of impression I will leave and if people will say "now there was a self-centered person" or if they'll say "she lived for the Lord". Obviously as a Christian I certainly hope they will say the latter, but some days I'm pretty convinced it might be the former. When all is said and done, I definitely want my life to be remembered by those that knew me, as a life with God-centered focus and one that will be a good example for others to follow. Even typing that out gives me a sort of chilled feeling, since that's a HUGE goal to aim for, and I know myself well enough to know that I fail miserably in tons of ways, every single day.

Still, it's my goal and by His grace I'll keep aiming for it, no matter how gigantic it seems to be.



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