It was back in 1985 in fact, the first of September 85 that Robert Ballard, the Explorer, made a discovery that actually made his heart leap into his throat. He was just absolutely excited. He recorded the feelings about this event. This is what he said, he said – “My first direct view of Titanic lasted less than two minutes, but the stark sight of her immense black hull towering above the ocean floor will remain forever ingrained in my memory. My lifelong dream was to find this great ship Titanic, and during the past 13 years, the quest for her has dominated my life, now, he said, Finally, the quest was over.”
So here was Robert Ballard, who’d spent 13 years of his life searching for the long-lost Titanic. He dreamed of it even before he had begun the expedition.
The goal of this find drove him on, and his experience demonstrated the power of what a single purpose can do in a person’s life. And so this story of the discovery of the Titanic actually prompts me to ask a simple question. Do you know how to live on purpose? I’m not sure that, most of us know how to dream as Robert Ballard did. I think many of us sort of drift along. We don’t really have big dreams of what we could do. We don’t long for something better. We don’t fight to achieve stuff. We just go along with the flow as it were, and we never understand the power of a single purpose. Now, I’m not referring primarily here to getting things like new cars or computers.
We have garages full of this stuff, but we often lack a single compelling purpose for living. Asking the question, what am I here for? Why am I here on Earth? What is my purpose? And without that purpose, I think that we can drift along like sticks do on a swollen river. Now you think about the people that you know – many of them are after things that don’t seem to matter much.
They feel that life is important as they accumulate gadgets and gizmos and other stuff like that. But then if that’s all that life is, then what’s the point of worrying about stuff. Life’s not worth worrying about, is it? So to have a purpose in life is a very steady influence. It’s a guiding influence. What are you up to in life is, I guess one way of describing a purpose in life and another way is to ask, well, what is worthwhile in life? And that, I think, a very good question.
So all of these things are a roundabout way of asking, “Why are you living? What is your purpose in life?” We simply must have, I think, some overall purpose in life. It was Joseph Addison, who said that the grand essentials to happiness in this life are three things. Something to do something to love and something to hope for. And I think that’s a great statement.
Something to do – something to love – and something to hope for
And these are the elements that give us reason to get up in the morning and to pursue our dreams even when they may just not be there. I want to say that we are made to live on purpose, people with a clear-cut sense of purpose.
These people are like the Explorer Ballard, who kept going for 13 years while pursuing the dream of discovering the Titanic. So he was someone who lived on purpose. The early explorers, think of that in our own country, who risked their lives to carve out places in in the wilderness – they kept going.
It’s an old-fashioned statement, I guess. But one person’s mountain is another’s mole hill, the same hammer that tempers steel shatters glass. The difference, I guess, is in the material, and that is the same thing with life. An experience that might throw one person, of course, doesn’t really make any difference, it’s not an inconvenience to another person. Someone else drifts along. In other words, it all determines on where we are heading and what it is.
Well, Lord, sometimes we find life to be too much. There’s negativity and gloomy people. Lord, forgive us for not being positive. And we know that with you, life becomes meaningful. Amen.