The name Buzz Aldrin is well-known in the history books today. Back in July 1969, he was the second human being to set foot on the moon. What an amazing part of history that was!
Buzz Aldrin has written a book about his experiences. But I am interested in something else he has written. And this is it:
If we keep looking only at where our feet are going, we may walk off the cliff. We may miss a great opportunity. But if we can look up and look ahead, look forward, there’s a greater chance that we will live more productive lives.
What is a Productive Life?
It prompted me to ask the question, what does it mean to live a productive life? Is it about being well organised, with an ability to absorb everything in life that is useful, and neglect what is not helpful? If I stay focused and put first things first, will that make me a productive person?
Looking at famous people over the years reveals that not everyone has found life to be satisfying and good, in spite of money or other assets.
J. Paul Getty, at one time perhaps the richest man in the world (when he died in 1976 he was worth $2 billion, a lot of money then), once said, “I hate and regret the failure of my marriages. I would gladly give all my millions for just one lasting marital success.” He possessed the money to live whatever lifestyle gave him the most satisfaction, but at the end of his life, he came to realise that a good, enduring marriage meant more to him than riches. He died feeling like a failure at what life is all about.
King Solomon lived a similar life of wealth, power, and privilege. The book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament tells of his lifelong experimentation with various lifestyles, projects, possessions, hobbies, and creature comforts. What does he ultimately conclude about how humanity should live?:
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Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come. . . . Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether it is good or whether it is evil. (Ecclesiastes 12:1, 13-14)
His experience told him that loving and serving God was the best thing to do because, in the end, that’s all that matters. Commenting on Solomon’s ‘futility of futilities’ expressed in Ecclesiastes, Allan Hubbard, President of Fuller Theological Seminary wrote:
This futility is akin to irony because it is full of surprises…Values that we treasure prove false; efforts that should succeed come to failure; pleasures that should satisfy increase our thirst. Ironic futility, futile irony—that is the colour of life.
We dare not forget that Solomon, the author of Ecclesiastes was a man who had everything; indeed, he had everything in luxurious abundance.
French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre expressed the despair many feel when he wrote, “Now I know, things are entirely what they appear to be, and behind them there is nothing.”
How Can We Live a Productive Life?
How do I live a productive life? By allowing God, through the person of his Son Jesus Christ, into my life. Psalm 46:10 tells us to stop what we are doing, and know the presence of God. We can never focus on God as our strength unless we stop what we’re doing, and learn to pray and read the Bible. This allows us to focus on the heart and mind of God.
The secret of discovering God’s sufficiency is found in spending time with him. Do you spend time alone with God every day? Learn to share all of your problems and needs with him. Say, Oh, Lord, I believe You are the Father of all mercies and the God of all comfort. Please help me today, especially in this situation.
I like what Chuck Swindoll says, “God never asked us to meet life’s pressures and demands on our own terms or by relying upon our own strength. Nor did He demand that we win His favour by assembling an impressive portfolio of good deeds. Instead, He invites us to enter His rest.”
Jesus said, “I came in order that you would have life, and have it in its fullness”
It’s about finding life’s true values and taking the time and effort to do so. Maybe that’s what you should do today. Jesus knew this better than anyone else. In Mark 1:35-39 we read of a day when he withdrew for prayer:
And in the early morning, while it was still dark, He arose and went out and departed to a lonely place, and was praying there. And Simon and his companions hunted for Him; and they found Him, and said to Him, “Everyone is looking for You.”
And He said to them, “Let us go somewhere else to the towns nearby, in order that I may preach there also; for that is what I came out for.” And He went into their synagogues throughout all Galilee, preaching and casting out the demons.
A Life of Intimacy with God
This time Jesus sought to be alone with his Father was very early in the morning. It occurred in the midst of great popularity when people were clamouring for the Lord’s attention and when there were needs all around him. He could have become overcome and flattered with his popularity, or preoccupied by the needs pressing against him. But what does the Lord do? He protected his private time alone with the Father so that he might be and do what God called him to do.
Again we see how one’s being precedes doing! The Lord Jesus was driven neither by his own impulses nor by the needs of people. Rather, he was guided from the hidden resources of his intimacy with the Father. Thus, he could do what God had called him to do. He was not seeking from others or from activity what he could find only in the Father.
For us today we need a supernatural foundation. Because then we can sustain the pressures of life. We can re-evaluate our life. Or look at our values, goals, attitudes in a new way. After all, Jesus said, “I came in order that you would have life, and have it in its fullness” (John 10:10)