Don’t dismiss the wisdom of age. This week I was visiting one of our elderly members who is confined (I don’t use that word lightly) to a nursing home. He has a great deal of time to think. And think. And think. When I visit him, the words come pouring out of his mouth. We cover a myriad of topics. It is one of the more fulfilling things I am able to do.
This week it was no different. I walked into the room, sat down, and the conversation flowed. We discussed his cell phone, his eyesight (or lack thereof), and his family tree. I guess it was discussing his family tree that led him to dropping a few words of wisdom.
His thoughts turned to a day many years ago when he was the Best Man in his cousin’s wedding. It was his duty, as is tradition, to give a speech. So he came up with what he thinks are the three keys to a fulfilling life: “Something to do; someone to love; and something to look forward to.”
Put those three things together and you will feel fulfilled. What wisdom in those words. They draw our focus to vocation, relationship, and hope:
- Something to do: Human beings were created for meaningful work. If you look at the book of Genesis you will discover that Adam did fulfilling work even before the fall into sin. It was part of his communion with God and his service to this world. It was only after sin came into the world that work became difficult and laborious. And yet in spite of sin and difficulty, a good day’s work is a thing of beauty. It gives us the opportunity to bring help and meaning into the lives of others, which in turn brings meaning to us.
- Someone to love: God gave this gift to Adam, as well. God created Eve out of the rib of Adam. Adam called her “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.” They were created to love and serve one another. Adam was no longer lonely and alone. He was given the gift of human love. And so was Eve.
- Something to look forward to: Once sin and death came into the world, Adam and Eve desperately needed something to which they could look forward. God gave them that gift in Genesis 3:15. A Savior was to come.
There is theological wisdom in these three statements. God gave us purpose. He gave us human love and relationship. And He gives us a Savior and salvation.
There is also human wisdom in these words. They apply to our daily lives. What would we do without meaningful work? Or relationships? Or hope? Our lives would be desperately empty.
But when we have those three things — vocation, relationship, and hope — there is a real flow to life. It doesn’t mean life will be perfect. There is still trial, and trouble, and sin. But when we have these three things, life is much better than when we are missing even one of them. Lord, have mercy, if we are missing all three.
How do you see these three keys evident in your own life?