Michael Josephson wrote the following essay entitled, “What will Matter.” It may help us put our priorities in focus.
“Ready or not, some day it will all end. There will be no more sunrises, no days, no hours or minutes, All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else. Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
“It will not matter what you owned or what someone owed you. Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear. So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will all expire. The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
“It won’t matter whether you are beautiful or brilliant. Your gender, skin color, ethnicity will be irrelevant. So what will matter? How will people measure the value of your days? What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
“What will matter is not your success, but your significance. What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage and sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example. What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
“What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you’re gone. What will matter is not your memories, but the memories of those who loved you. What will matter is how long you will be remembered by whom and for what.
“Living a life that matters doesn’t happen by accident. It’s not a matter of circumstance but of choice. Choose to live a life that matters.”
Jesus gave us the Beatitudes as a guideline so we could live a life that matters. The words in italics are an explanation of what Jesus intended us to do.
• Blessed are those who know they are spiritually poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Spiritually poor: to admit that you have needs; to be open to change, to grow, to realize that you don’t have it all – that you need God in your life.
• Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Mourn: to fell the hurt of others, to empathize with others because you have been there yourself.
• Blessed are those who are gentle, for they will inherit the earth.
Gentle: to enable others to be themselves because you have accepted yourself with your gifts and limitation. The ability to really listen to others because you can put aside your own agendas.
• Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be filled.
Hunger for justice: to have your priorities in proper order; to be motivated to do God’s will in all of life.
• Blessed are those who show mercy, for they will receive mercy. Show mercy: to have compassion without conditions; to be sensitive and responsive, freely giving of yourself.
• Blessed are those who hearts are clean. They will see God. Clean heart: to be in touch with your inner self, unencumbered by false images, honest with yourself, God and others.
• Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Peacemaker: to bridge differences without destroying others’ uniqueness; to harmonize, to bring together.
• Blessed are those persecuted for their struggle for justice, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Endurance: to be able to accept hostility and anger without fighting back, to act rather than react in all situations of life.
• Blessed are you when people lambast you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven.
Being on the side of the Lord does not guarantee popularity. God calls us to be faithful, not successful.