Back in December 2019, I wrote a blog entitled “What Really Matters?” I asked that question for a number of reasons but mainly because I knew 2020 would be a tumultuous year in this country. Little did I know that 3 months later our world would be turned totally upside down by something called COVID-19. Suddenly issues that seemed important fell to the wayside. What really mattered was how do we survive this global pandemic? And so I wrote a similar blog entitled “WHAT Really Matters? – Part II” in May 2020. In that blog I asked the same question I had asked in the original blog only this time I added one word – NOW. What Really Matters NOW? Well, guess what? Maybe we need to ask ourselves that same question, again, one year later. What Really Matters NOW?
I just read an interesting comment made at a virtual CEO Roundtable sponsored by FORTUNE in partnership with McKinsey & Company. Penny Pennington, Managing Partner of Edward Jones said the following…
Last year we did the largest survey of retirees and pre-retirees that has
ever been fielded. And we did it in the middle of the pandemic. They said
there were three things more important to them than their finances – health,
family and purpose.
Imagine, Edwards Jones, a company whose entire business is based upon helping its clients successfully grow and invest their finances finds out that their clients think there are three things more important than their finances. Let’s take a look at those three.
Health – This one should come as no surprise to any of us. As the expression goes, “You lose your health, you lose everything!” I learned this lesson in difficult fashion when my dad suffered a massive stroke at 55 years of age. He never worked another day in his life and this event changed the complete dynamic of our family. Everything changed for him and our family when he lost his health.
Family – Sadly, many of us often take our family for granted. We may say our family is the most important aspect of our life but all too many times we are more focused and engaged when it comes to our career pursuits and our financial goals. Much like the story that Harry Chapin’s song from the 70’s (“Cats in the Cradle”) tells, as we get older and wish to spend more time with our loved ones, especially our children, we may find that they are now “too busy” for us as they find themselves living their lives as we lived ours. Or as the song says, “He’d grown up just like me. My boy is just like me.” One might ask himself, Is that what I was really hoping for as I raised my son/daughter?
Purpose – Wow! Edward Jones surveys retirees and pre-retirees and one of the three things these individuals say is THE most important thing in their life is – purpose?
Do you really think they saw that one coming? I bet not, but all things considered I am not surprised. After all, for 15 months the leading story on almost every newscast was about how many more Americans had died from Covid-19. More than ever one thing became very clear and especially for those 70 and older – anyone can die at any time. And so, embracing this stark reality forced many of us to think more deeply about our mortality, the life we are living and, yes, what is our life purpose?
Health, family and purpose – I can see why those surveyed chose these three as being more important than their finances. How about you? Do these three come ahead of your finances in terms of importance? And if so, are you living your life in such a way that reflects your life purpose? Think about it. Have you ever asked yourself…What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What is my purpose for being here?
Determining one’s purpose in life is a very personal, reflective exercise. In fact, determining what one’s purpose is in this life may be the ultimate question for each and every one of us just as it is addressed in the book of Ecclesiastes. It’s a question that only you, and God, can answer together. And yes, your purpose matters to God because what you do with your life has an impact on this world, His world…and yes, this is God’s world. Maybe finding one’s purpose goes back to trying to answer the question I asked when I wrote that original blog in December 2019 – What Really Matters?
Back in 2019 I answered that question with a one word answer – FAITH. And I went on to say that as we live our lives and face the unknowns that come with every new day, be there a pandemic or no pandemic, could anything be more important in our life than our FAITH in God and the understanding that His son Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins? And yes, I even pointed to one verse where God speaks to the importance of our FAITH in all of eight words…..
For we walk by faith, not by sight – 2 Corinthians 5:7
And now, some 17 months later, with everything that we have lived through and for all the changes we have seen, one thing is the same. God is still with us and remains as the constant presence in our lives, a living presence that teaches us and inspires us to love Him and love our neighbors as we love ourselves. You want purpose for your life? Bring the living presence of Jesus Christ into your life every day and let it influence who you are. In doing so, you will become the best version of YOU that YOU could ever be, living your life in ways that make this world a better world.
It’s as the picture of the road sign says, built on FAITH as our foundation, we ultimately will achieve the ultimate Victory! Yes, there will be many crossroads in our lives and many of our decisions will have much to do with our fate. But, ultimately, God has a plan for each of us (Jeremiah 29:11) and if we come close to Him, bring all of our concerns and praises to Him in prayer, we will live out our purpose in the way He wants us to. That is God’s will and ultimately, that is What Really Matters!